Heat relief on the way for California firefighters

LOS ANGELES, July 8 (Reuters) - Cooler temperatures will bring some relief to firefighters battling California wildfires, but not until later in the week, the National Weather Service said.

"No luck today, but starting Monday, we're going to see a gradual cool down, as we shave just a few degrees off each day until about midweek it gets to something like normal, in the mid-90s (Fahrenheit) inland and 80s at the coast," said Jim Hayes of the NWS Weather Prediction Center in College Park Maryland.

"Today it's going to be another miserable, hot, dry day," he said early Sunday, noting that temperatures in some areas inland will hit triple digits.

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Fires in Yolo County, California
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Fires in Yolo County, California
Firefighters work to control a fire as flames from the County Fire jump across Highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks, California, on July 1, 2018. - Californian authorities have issued red flag weather warnings and mandatory evacuation orders after a series of wildfires fanned by high winds and hot temperatures ripped through thousands of acres. The latest blaze, the County Fire sparked in Yolo County on June 30, had by July 1 afternoon spread across 22,000 acres (9,000 hectares) with zero percent containment, according to Cal Fire. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Inmate firefighters work as flames from the County Fire climb a hillside in Guinda, California, on July 1, 2018. - Californian authorities have issued red flag weather warnings and mandatory evacuation orders after a series of wildfires fanned by high winds and hot temperatures ripped through thousands of acres. The latest blaze, the County Fire sparked in Yolo County on June 30, had by July 1 afternoon spread across 22,000 acres (9,000 hectares) with zero percent containment, according to Cal Fire. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Fire consumes a hillside as the County fire burns along Highway 129 near Lake Berryessa in Yolo County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Randall Benton/Sacramento Bee/TN)
ESPARTO, CA - JULY 02: A firefighting air tanker drops Foscheck fire retardant on a hillside ahead of the County Fire on July 2, 2018 in Esparto, California. The fast moving County Fire, which started on Saturday afternoon, has scorched nearly 45,000 acres as it continues to burn through dry grass and brush. The fire is currently 3 percent contained and has not burned any homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Cows trot in a burning pasture in Guinda, California on July 01, 2018. - Californian authorities have issued red flag weather warnings and mandatory evacuation orders after a series of wildfires fanned by high winds and hot temperatures ripped through thousands of acres. The latest blaze, the County Fire sparked in Yolo County on June 30, had by July 1 afternoon spread across 22,000 acres (9,000 hectares) with zero percent containment, according to Cal Fire. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Hot Shot crews from Truckee, Calif., use incendiary devices to start backfires to help contain the County fire along Highway 129, near Lake Berryessa in Yolo County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Randall Benton/Sacramento Bee/TN)
Hot Shot crews from Mendocino, Calif., use backfires to help contain the County fire along Highway 129 near Lake Berryessa in Yolo County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Randall Benton/Sacramento Bee/TN)
ESPARTO, CA - JULY 02: A firefighting air tanker drops Foscheck fire retardant near a structure ahead of the County Fire on July 2, 2018 in Esparto, California. The fast moving County Fire, that started on Saturday afternoon, has scorched nearly 45,000 acres as it continues to burn through dry grass and brush. The fire is currently 3 percent contained and has not burned any homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Hot Shot crews from Mendocino, Calif., use backfires to help contain the County fire along Highway 129 near Lake Berryessa in Yolo County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Randall Benton/Sacramento Bee/TN)
GUINDA, CA - JULY 02: Smoke rises from the County Fire as it burns through dry brush on July 2, 2018 in Guinda, California. The fast moving County Fire, that started on Saturday afternoon, has scorched nearly 45,000 acres as it continues to burn through dry grass and brush. The fire is currently 3 percent contained and has not burned any homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Hot Shot crews from Mendocino, Calif., use backfires to help contain the County fire along Highway 129 near Lake Berryessa in Yolo County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Randall Benton/Sacramento Bee/TN)
ESPARTO, CA - JULY 02: A firefighting air tanker drops Foscheck fire retardant on a hillside ahead of the County Fire on July 2, 2018 in Esparto, California. The fast moving County Fire, which started on Saturday afternoon, has scorched nearly 45,000 acres as it continues to burn through dry grass and brush. The fire is currently 3 percent contained and has not burned any homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Fire consumes a hillside as the County fire burns along Highway 129 near Lake Berryessa in Yolo County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Randall Benton/Sacramento Bee/TN)
TOPSHOT - Firefighters watch as flames from the County Fire climb a hillside in Guinda, California, on July 1, 2018. - Californian authorities have issued red flag weather warnings and mandatory evacuation orders after a series of wildfires fanned by high winds and hot temperatures ripped through thousands of acres. The latest blaze, the County Fire sparked in Yolo County on June 30, had by July 1 afternoon spread across 22,000 acres (9,000 hectares) with zero percent containment, according to Cal Fire. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A horse looks on in his pasture near where the County Fire burns in Yolo County on Saturday, June, 30, 2018. (Daniel Kim/Sacramento Bee/TNS via Getty Images)
Flames from the County Fire move through a property in Guinda, California, on July 1, 2018. - Californian authorities have issued red flag weather warnings and mandatory evacuation orders after a series of wildfires fanned by high winds and hot temperatures ripped through thousands of acres. The latest blaze, the County Fire sparked in Yolo County on June 30, had by July 1 afternoon spread across 22,000 acres (9,000 hectares) with zero percent containment, according to Cal Fire. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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Santa Barbara County officials declared a local emergency on Saturday as a fast-moving wildfire destroyed 20 homes and other structures and forced thousands of residents to evacuate.

The Holiday Fire, one of more than three dozen major blazes burning across the U.S. West, broke out on Friday evening near the beach community of Goleta, California, South of Santa Barbara, and raced through the seaside foothills.

The flames forced more than 2,000 people to flee their homes, and left thousands more without power, prompting the emergency declaration which frees additional funds for the firefighting effort.

As of early Sunday, the Holiday Fire burned through more than 100 acres and was 80 percent contained, officials posted on the Internet.

Dozens of blazes have broken out across the western United States, fanned by scorching heat, winds and low humidity in a particularly intense fire season.

This year's fires had burned more than 2.9 million acres (1.17 million hectares) through Friday, already more than the annual average of about 2.4 million acres (971,000 hectares) over the last 10 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

On Friday, the remains of an unidentified person were found near a home burned to the ground by the Klamathon fire, which broke out on Thursday near California's border with Oregon. It marked the first fatality of the fire season in California.

The Klamathon, which has destroyed 15 structures and blackened nearly 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares), was 20 percent contained as of early Sunday, a spokeswoman said.

Elsewhere in Northern California, the County Fire has charred 88,375 acres (35,764 hectares) in sparsely populated wooded areas of Napa and Yolo Counties.

Some 3,660 firefighters faced with inaccessible terrain, high temperatures and low humidity, were battling the fire, which was only 48 percent contained. It has destroyed 10 structures, damaged two and threatened 110.

In Colorado, officials said fire crews had made "much progress" battling the Spring Creek fire, which broke out on June 27 and has consumed 106,985 acres (43,295 hectares). It was 43 percent contained on Saturday, the officials said. (Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Peter Szekely in New York and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; and additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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