Fierce wildfires feast on Southern California

LOS ANGELES (CNN)–The unchecked wildfires rage — unleashing twinkling walls of embers, forcing the evacuation of thousands and consuming scores of homes in Southern California.

Ferocious and fast, the wind-whipped flames have feasted on vast swaths of dry terrain. They have engulfed vegetation, lines of cars and entire neighborhoods. Some residents have been forced to flee over the burning ground.

An ominous orange glow breaks through plumes of smoke rising like tornadoes from a series of fires that have scorched more than 83,000 acres.

For three days, tens of thousands of Californians have been forced from their homes – some decorated for the holidays — as exhausted firefighters heave heavy hoses toward infernos where church spire-like flames tower over trees.

The fires, fueled by fierce Santa Ana winds, could burn for days. They leave behind a desert of ash and destruction as testament to one of the state’s worst fire seasons.

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