Fire in the mountains

A helicopter dropping water on a wildfire in the San Gabriel mountains as it attacked the flames near Duarte, California, the United States, on Tuesday.

Two rapidly growing wildfires burning a few miles apart through parched foothills north-east of Los Angeles prompted the evacuation of nearly 800 homes as a heatwave continued to bake much of the south-west for a third straight day.

Abnormally high temperatures across much of the region helped stoke wildfires, from the coastal hills outside Santa Barbara to desert brush near the Mexican border, and several other western states. Fires were also menacing populated areas in New Mexico, Arizona and along the Colorado-Wyoming border.

The greatest immediate threat was posed by a pair of fires that erupted near each other on Monday near the Angeles National Forest and doubled in size overnight as they roared unchecked through foothills and canyons above the communities of Azusa and Duarte.

More than 1,000 firefighters were battling the conflagration. The fires were 10 per cent contained by Tuesday evening, but not before they burned about 2,000ha of the San Gabriel mountains.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2016, with the headline 'Fire in the mountains'. Print Edition | Subscribe