More Californians Refusing to Evacuate Despite Fire Danger

FONTANA, Calif. (AP) -
Firefighters put out hot spots from a wildfire burning in Wrightwood, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. As flames overtook the pine forests surrounding Wrightwood, only half of the residents in this picturesque mountain town heeded the evacuation orders. Californians are increasingly ignoring the orders, growing accustomed to wildfires as the region faces what could be the most hazardous season yet. (Rachel Luna/The Sun via AP)
Firefighters put out hot spots from a wildfire burning in Wrightwood, Calif., on Thursday. (Rachel Luna/The Sun via AP)

Officials say Californians are increasingly ignoring evacuation orders as the region faces what could be its most hazardous fire season on record. State fire officials say the trend is dangerous as infernos speed through drought-starved vegetation.

Only about half of the more than 4,500 residents of Wrightwood heeded evacuation orders this week as surrounding forests were engulfed in flames from a huge, fast-moving wildfire east of Los Angeles that charred nearly 50 square miles.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller says more homeowners are staying put and dialing 911 for help. But crews are not always able to reach them.

Some say wildfires now have become a way of life in wildlands.