Calif. wildfires already up 90 percent from average

The Powerhouse fire in California is devouring brush that has not burned since 1929.
The Powerhouse fire in California is devouring brush that has not burned since 1929.
CBS News
Jennifer Stewart
Jennifer Stewart CBS News

(CBS News) LANCASTER, Calif. -- It's called the Powerhouse fire, and it's burned for four straight nights. Six homes have been scorched to the ground.

Three thousand people have fled, including Jennifer Stewart, who marveled at the work of firefighters. For days, crews have been helping round up residents and horses.

"The fireline has burned right up to property lines, and homes have been saved, and these guys are just amazing," she said. "I'm completely humbled, it's really hard to see your community like this."

Ed Mac
Ed Mac CBS News

Progress made battling massive blaze outside L.A.

At least 500 homes are still threatened. Ed Mac has not left yet -- even though the fire knocked his power out. But he's ready to bolt if the wind changes direction.

"My wife grabbed the kids' pictures and everything else, so I'm waiting for it to come down," he said.

This fire is devouring brush that has not burned since 1929. So far this year, California firefighters have battled more than 2,000 wildfires -- that's 60 percent more than last year and 90 percent more than an average year.

Nathan Judy
Nathan Judy CBS News

"We're seeing conditions that we normally see in late July, early August," said Nathan Judy of the U.S. Forest Service. "It takes a few months before we see these. Everything is below 60 percent. Anything below 60 percent, the fuel will burn like it's dead."

Flames were being pushed through by wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour. The state's most elite firefighters were expected to come to the area Monday night to help gain control of the blaze.