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Southern California Wildfires Leave At Least 1 Person Dead

VENTURA, Calif. (CBSNewYork/CBSNews) – The wildfires spreading rapidly across Southern California have now killed at least one person.

Authorities say a woman's remains were found next to her overturned vehicle in Ventura County.

So far, 116,000 acres have burned and more than 430 structures have been destroyed – at least 100 of them are homes.

Meanwhile, evacuation orders remain in place for 330,000 residents.

PHOTOS: Southern California Wildfires

As CBS News' Danielle Nottingham reported, crews battling the Lilac Fire in San Diego County were trying to minimize the damage Thursday.

"We have crews surrounding this whole area. We're going to make a stand and protect all the ones that we can," one firefighter said.

Officials advised people in the wildfire's path to prepare to move.

"We have 20 structures that have been destroyed. I expect that number will go higher," Cal Fire Chief Dave Nissen said.

Several major wildfires are consumer parts of California.

Flames tore through trees and brush on the 101 in Ventura County, shutting down stretches of one of the busiest freeways in America.

"It definitely looks like Armageddon here," said Mike Stevens, while hosing down his Faria Beach home, trying to protect it. "All the embers that are coming across the hills – it's only obvious that it could start, no problem."

But firefighters advised residents not to take matters into their own hands.

"Stuff that burns is not good for you. So just the whole thing is just not safe," Ventura County Fire Captain Information Officers Scott Quirarte said.

Hundreds of homes have been lost and thousands more are in jeopardy, but officials say they've made good progress in Ventura County.

The Thomas Fire has creeped into Los Padres National Forest.

An estimate one million people are being affected by the poor air conditions.

"I think safety is always a big challenge and the wind – wind-drive fire, it's tremendous," Ventura County Fire Public Information Officer Rick Macklin said.

Officials warn heavy winds and dry air could prolong conditions for weeks.

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