JULIAN, Calif. – More than 3,000 firefighters worked Wednesday to prevent the further spread of a wildfire that has burned across more than 80 square miles of mountainous terrain east of San Diego.
Crews concentrated on protecting the rural town of Ranchita and trying to control the flames where they were most intense -- in the Los Coyotes Indian reservation and in Anza Borrego State Park, said state Department of Forestry spokeswoman Martie Perkins.
The blaze had drawn to the edge of Ranchita, home to about 340 people, but firefighters believed they could safeguard the community, Perkins said.
The wildfire began July 29 after a National Guard helicopter clipped a power line during a search for marijuana plants in the rugged, isolated area. The fire has burned through some 53,000 acres and destroyed 25 homes. It was 60 percent contained late Wednesday.
Elsewhere, residents of several hamlets along the Illinois and Rogue rivers in southwestern Oregon held their ground as favorable wind kept two huge wildfires at bay and crews built fire lines.
Since July 13, the lightning-sparked fires have burned a combined 285,000 acres in the Siskiyou National Forest.
In central Nebraska, a wildfire that firefighters thought they had contained flared up again amid gusting wind and quickly doubled in size to 20,000 acres. Four ranch homes between Gothenburg and Brady were threatened.