Emergency crews in the coastal California city of Carlsbad are struggling to contain a brush fire that has already destroyed more than two dozen homes.
The blaze was first reported about 11:00 local time (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday, and by the afternoon more than 11,000 notices had been sent to local homes and businesses warning of mandatory evacuations in the area.
No injuries have yet been reported as a result of the blaze. "The safety and security of the community is our top priority and all available resources are being deployed," the city wrote on its website.
The blaze was one of several in the area that firefighters were battling in dry, windy weather conditions.
Recent high temperatures and a drought have contributed to an unusually busy fire season, state officials warned.
Flames shot above canyon ridges, and smoke darkened the blue skies over the coastal city, located about 48km (30m) north of San Diego.
Firefighters have been called in from across the region.
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