A huge wildfire in the Los Angeles area spread another 2,000 acres overnight and appeared to have killed a motorist whose remains were found in a charred vehicle in the fire's path, officials said on Sunday.
This brought to 22,000 acres -- or 34 square miles -- the total area enveloped by the wildfire, which has forced hundreds of evacuations and is casting a dark haze over parts of Southern California.
The fire is one of a series this summer that have hit the state, which has suffered drought for several years and where dried grass and bush land as well as high temperatures have helped fuel the blazes.
The remains of an unidentified person were found late on Saturday inside a charred vehicle in the path of the so-called Sand Fire near Santa Clarita, about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of the city, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.
Officials said they would not know the cause of death until the completion of a medical examination, it said.
The wildfire has spread rapidly, prompting evacuation orders covering about 1,500 homes. The cause of the blaze, which broke out shortly after 2 p.m. on Friday, is under investigation.
Strong winds and temperatures reaching 97 degrees Fahrenheit are expected to hamper the efforts of the more than 1,600 firefighters battling the blaze, a sheriff's department spokesman said.
The blaze was 10 percent contained, he said.
The fire has prompted the South Coast Air Quality Management District to issue a smoke warning effective until midnight on Monday.
Officials said one firefighter sustained a minor injury, and that structures had been destroyed or damaged in the Bear Divide and Sand Canyon areas.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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Published Date: Jul 24, 2016 11:16 pm | Updated Date: Jul 24, 2016 11:16 pm