Thousands flee raging wildfires in California

Nearly 8,000 people are evacuated from their homes Monday, as dry conditions fuel more than a dozen wildfires in California. More than 85 active wildfires are burning across the West.

In Santa Barbara County, there's no end in sight for the Whittier Fire, which started Saturday afternoon at the peak of the weekend's heat wave when temperatures hit 110 degrees Fahrenheit, reports CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal. It has burned 7,800 acres, and at least 20 structures have been lost on both sides of the area's major highway, which is expected to remain closed for days. About 3,500 people have been forced from their homes. 

"The fire is burning in an area that hasn't burned in probably 60 years," Los Padres National Forest Deputy Fire Chief Jim Harris said. 

Time-lapse video shows the fire moving up a mountain peak until it nearly reached a camera recording it. Some 200 people were quickly evacuated from campgrounds in the fire's path in addition to 80 children who were trapped in a camp barracks Saturday. Incident commander Mark von Tillow led the rescue efforts. 

Three dozen wildfires burning across Western United States


 
"The road was compromised by fire on both sides, Oak trees falling on the road," von Tillow said.

Firefighters huddled with the children for hours until it was safe enough to transport them out of the camp and back to their parents.

"Was there a moment that you said, I'm really nervous about these kids?" Villarreal asked.

"I was confident in our firefighters to reach them. I wasn't confident about the fact that we would be able to get them out in a timely manner," von Tillow said.

The state is dealing with more than a dozen fires. About 36 miles northeast of the Whittier Fire, the so-called Alamo Fire has charred at least 24,000 acres. And north of Sacramento, the Wall Fire is threatening more than 5,000 structures.

More than 5,000 firefighters across the state are on the fire lines Monday. They're working together to share resources, and they're hopeful that a return to double-digit temperatures this week will help them get the upper hand.