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Weekly wrap-up: Heroic firefighters lose their homes while battling massive blazes; Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano seeps into ocean

Skies turned a hazy orange over parts of Southern California this week as the Sand Fire grew out of control quickly near the town of Santa Clarita.

The blaze began on July 22 and scorched more than 38,000 acres and destroyed at least 18 homes. One of which belonged to a firefighter battling a separate fire.

Sergio Toscano, a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, had been working to contain the Roblar Fire in San Diego County, when he was informed his home had been lost, according to ABC 7 in Los Angeles.

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"We were assigned to a fire at Camp Pendleton, the Roblar Fire; I was getting text and phone calls from back home updating me on the fire that was going on back home," Toscano told ABC7.

Toscano was later called home to help protect other structures from the Sand Fire.

The news station reported that several other firefighters also lost their homes as a result of the blaze.

As flames crept perilously close to Wildlife Waystation, an animal refuge in Angeles National Forest, shelter workers and volunteers helped transport hundreds of exotic animals out of harm's way.

Farther north, the Soberanes Fire burned over 27,000 acres in Monterey County, California. According to InciWeb, 34 homes and another 10 structures were destroyed. One person died in the fire.

A state of emergency was declared in both Los Angeles and Monterey counties by acting California Gov. Tom Torlakson as additional evacuations were issued.

Severe storms swept through the Northeast on Monday, causing flash flooding that impacted the evening commute and delaying flights in Philadelphia, Boston and New York City.

The Democratic National Convention began Monday in Philadelphia. While the main event was taking place indoors at the Wells Fargo Center, media tents and other activities were set up outside the venue, forcing many to scramble for shelter.

As the storms rolled through the city, the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management urged people outside the convention in nearby Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park to find shelter under the Interstate 95 underpass.

Tropical Storm Darby made landfall on Hawaii's Big Island during the afternoon of Saturday, July 23. The system brought heavy rain throughout the islands that caused problems for commuters and left a mall flooded in Oahu. Portions of Interstate H-1 were closed due to flooding on Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service office in Honolulu.

An active flow of lava that has been oozing from the summit of Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano since May reached the ocean around 1:12 a.m. local time on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the United States Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that this is the first time since 2013 that lava had made its way to the ocean.

The observatory said the lava presented no threat to nearby communities.

The effects of the strong El Niño that dissipated earlier this year are still being felt across the globe.

On Tuesday, The Guardian reported that 15 countries in southern Africa have launched an emergency appeal for $2.8 billion in aid to combat the effects of severe drought.

The money is needed to help feed nearly 40 million people who will be impacted by food shortages, which are expected to peak between October and March, according to The Guardian.

Several AccuWeather meteorologists and staff writers contributed content to this article.


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kevin Byrne at Kevin.Byrne@accuweather.com, follow him on Twitter at @Accu_Kevin. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook