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3 homes destroyed by Fresno County wildfire

BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire in California's Central Valley has destroyed three homes while a stubborn blaze that destroyed dozens kept growing well into its second week.

The newer fire northeast of Fresno had also burned two other buildings, authorities said Monday. The damage to the homes and outbuildings had occurred over the weekend but fire officials weren't able to immediately assess it.

About 300 people were under evacuation orders from homes just outside the Sierra National Forest, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The blaze of just over 3 square miles started Saturday afternoon in steep, rugged terrain. It was 20 percent contained Monday, state fire officials said.

Meanwhile, the wildfire north of scenic Big Sur near the Central Coast held steady at 62.5 square miles. Firefighters got help from a low marine layer that brought a spike in humidity and dropped temperatures into the 60s and 70s.

The blaze that broke out July 22 has destroyed 57 homes and is threatening 2,000 additional structures. It was less than 20 percent contained Monday.

A bulldozer operator working the fire lines was killed last week in a rollover accident. Friant resident Robert Reagan III, 35, was a graduate of Yosemite High School in Oakhurst and a former racer at the Madera Speedway.

The fire, which is about the size of San Francisco, also has scared away tourists. They are canceling bookings after officials warned that crews will likely be battling the flames for another month.

Further south, crews had nearly surrounded a 65-square-mile blaze on the outskirts of Los Angeles that killed one man and destroyed 18 homes. It comes 10 days after the fire broke out in suburban Santa Clarita and spread into the mountainous Angeles National Forest, officials said. Authorities have not determined the cause.

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