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New wildfire in Northern California destroys homes

One person has already been killed and at least 10 homes have been destroyed by two new wildfires that have sparked in scorched California
New deadly wildfires spring up in California 01:13

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. - A new wildfire in Northern California destroyed or damaged 10 homes in Monterey County and a body was found among the ashes a week after two other blazes killed five people and destroyed at least 1,400 homes, fire officials said Sunday.

The Tassajara blaze burning about 2 miles north of the community of Jamesburg quickly grew to 1,200-acres after starting Saturday afternoon, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. The fire grew around the same time as another, smaller blaze began -- the Laureles Fire -- which burned about 100 acres in an area east of Seaside and was 60 percent contained by Saturday evening, reports CBS San Francisco.

The person who died in the Tassajara blaze has not been identified. Authorities said later Sunday that they were investigating the death as suspicious.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office said firefighters found he man's body inside a charred vehicle in the burn area on Saturday.

Sheriff's spokesman John Thornburg said the man's death is being investigated as a possible suicide.

Evacuation advisories were issued for residents of Jamesburg and the nearby community of Cachagua, Cal Fire said.

Calif. facing worst fire season in 10 years 01:49

Farther north, two wildfires have destroyed 1,400 homes and continue to threaten thousands more, fire officials said.

Damage assessment teams have counted 888 homes burned in Lake County, many of them in the town of Middletown, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

Berlant said teams are getting access to affected areas as firefighters make progress but that the count is far from over.

The fire, which killed at least three people and charred 117 square miles was 53 percent contained. Another 6,400 homes remain under threat.

"Our damage assessment team continues to go in and count home by home, structure by structure but they still have a ways to go before they are finished," Berlant said.

Hundreds of homes, businesses lost to NorCal wildfires 02:49

Another 535 homes were destroyed by a separate blaze that killed at least two people and that has burned 110 square miles in the Sierra Nevada foothills, about 170 miles southeast. That blaze was 70 percent contained Sunday but continued to threaten thousands of structures.

Amid the destruction and continued fight against the blazes by thousands of firefighters, people have been stepping up to help in an outpouring of compassion for victims.

At Starlet Bridal in Santa Rosa, owner Allison Hargave-Barnard, surprised Rachel Lemon, who lost the home she shared with her fiance in the Lake County fire, by covering the cost of her wedding dress and rallying her colleagues in the bridal industry who have offered to donate photography and music services, flowers and a wedding cake, the Sacramento Bee reported Sunday.

Aria Simpson and her mother, Teresa Fogolini of Bodega Bay, took it upon themselves to help save 18 camels stranded at Sacred Camel Gardens, a spiritual retreat near Middletown, by setting up an online donations site that has collected $15,000 to feed the animals.

California wildfires threaten thousands of homes 02:01

During the fire, herdsman Stuart Camps and two others guided the camels from one safe area to another as flames devoured a feed barn, fencing and the landscape around them.

"I can't put it into words," Camps said. "I'm just feeling deep gratitude and thinking of everyone who risked their lives to save them."

Residents of Middletown, the area hardest hit by the massive wildfire in Lake County, were allowed to return home Saturday afternoon. Evacuation orders for other areas in Lake County remained.

The Lake County fire tore through 62 square miles in 12 hours, causing thousands of residents to flee after it ignited a week ago. About 19,000 people were ordered to evacuate.

A weekend of heat had descended on the wildfires after several favorable days, raising fears that major gains could be undone.

That makes it essential that the smoldering remains of the two giant blazes be dealt with as quickly and thoroughly as possible, Scott Mclean, a battalion chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said.

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