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Calif. Wildfires Rage On In Heat Wave

A fast-growing wildfire turned away from homes in San Diego County early Monday after prompting calls for evacuations, as hot, windy weather sapped the endurance of firefighters.

The blaze in Cleveland National Forest had grown to 6,000 acres - about 9 square miles - and prompted voluntary evacuations of hundreds of homes near Lake Morena, said Roxanne Provaznik of the California Department of Forestry.

The blaze was moving south to southeast and away from homes, but it was moving rapidly, Provaznik said.

Fire crews had to cope with California's heat wave that has sent temperatures above 100 degrees. At dawn Monday, the temperature in the area was 74 degrees, but it was expected to reach at least 95.

"It's making it really rough for our firefighters," Provaznik said.

Off the coast, a blaze had charred nearly 2 square miles of brush on Santa Catalina Island, a popular, 76-square-mile recreation spot southwest of Los Angeles with several hotels and homes. Officials hoped to have the fire there fully contained by Tuesday.

In the San Bernardino Mountains, a complex of fires that had burned more than 38 square miles was about two-thirds contained, officials said. It has been stalled for nearly a week eight miles southwest of several communities.

In the mountains of central Idaho, high temperatures combined with wind to drive three forest fires. Managers worried that the one wildfire could threaten federally protected chinook salmon.

Crews in central Arizona kept a 3,900-acre - or 6-square-mile - wildfire in the Tonto National Forest from reaching two power lines that carry electricity to Phoenix.

By Allison Hoffman

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