California Wildfire Explodes in Size

LOS ANGELES (AP) -
A Los Angeles County hand crew works to contain a flare up alongside a road in Lake Hughes, Calif., early Sunday. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
A Los Angeles County hand crew works to contain a flare up alongside a road in Lake Hughes, Calif., early Sunday. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

A fire that destroyed at least five structures and threatened hundreds of others exploded in size overnight, burning dangerously close to two communities north of Los Angeles.

Erratic wind spread the blaze in the Angeles National Forest to nearly 41 square miles early Sunday, triggering the evacuation of nearly 1,000 homes in Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth, officials said.

Matt Corelli of the Forest Service told The Associated Press that five structures had been burned down. At least 10 other structures were damaged.

The fire was 20 percent contained.

A huge plume of smoke could be seen from much of various parts of northern Los Angeles County throughout Saturday, and air-quality officials warned against strenuous outdoor activity.