Southern California wildfires still smoldering after hellish week

BONSALL, California --  In southern California, blowtorch winds have died down, but deadly fires are still spreading. President Trump has declared a state of emergency, clearing the way for additional federal aid. 

The six major fires have burned more than 140,000 acres -- an area larger than Chicago.

More than 500 structures have been destroyed.

When the winds kicked up, the flames roared, and many homes in this north San Diego community never had a chance.  

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The six major southern California wildfires.

CBS News

One thousand firefighters were called to battle the flames, but they were no match for the 50 mile-per-hour gusts that fueled this massive fire.

When firefighters came across one home, it was already burning. They put everything had on it, but it was not enough. Then they just tried to keep the flames from spreading, and it was still smoldering more than 12 hours later. There was nothing they could do to save it.

The view from above is ominous. Home after home, burned to the ground.

On Friday, firefighters took advantage of calm winds by cutting fire lines, and water-dropping helicopters doused hotspots.

It's been a grueling week for firefighters as they try to snuff out several major wildfires across the state. 

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Firefighters try to battle flames near San Diego.

CBS News

"They worked so hard. Some guys aren't even getting breaks just because the way SoCal is right now," said Joe Buchanan, a North County fire engineer. "So we are working our guys to the bone."

Hundreds of thoroughbred horses have now reunited with their owners after stampeding out of a horse-training facility to escape the flames. Many did not make it out alive. Kim Marrs was among the trainers who set her horse free. 

She said she when she turned him loose, she didn't know what was going to happen. She said "all you can do in a fire" is hope for the best. 

This fire is still very much alive, and it's smoldering everywhere. There's lots of dry brush, which could be a problem if the winds kick up again this weekend.