New fires erupt in California as heatwave blisters region


New wildfires have erupted near Los Angeles, forcing people from their suburban homes as an intense heatwave stretching from the West Coast to New Mexico blistered the region.

Towering columns of smoke rose from the San Gabriel Mountains as two fires burning less than two miles apart devoured brush on steep slopes above foothill suburbs.

Police in the city of Azusa and parts of Duarte ordered several hundred homes evacuated. Others are under voluntary evacuations.

"It's crazy. It's super close," said 17-year-old Tawni Atencio, whose family was evacuating their home in Bradbury.

She said the flames were just a couple miles away and were making the house hot despite air conditioning. She watched as smoke from the fire billowed outside and helicopters dropped retardant on the flames.

"It looked like a bomb exploded," she said. "It's scary. We're just praying it doesn't get to our house."

(Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

About 270 homes and other buildings were threatened by the blaze, which has charred more than 12 square miles since Wednesday.

Other blazes burned wide swathes across Arizona and New Mexico, where firefighters also faced blistering temperatures.