Dying Winds Give Crews Fighting Chance in California Wildfires

Three campers have been arrested after blaze reportedly started from a campfire.
3:00 | 01/17/14

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Transcript for Dying Winds Give Crews Fighting Chance in California Wildfires
I'm -- -- -- with a CBC news digital special report progress in controlling the wildfires that have charged 17100. Acres in Glendora California. The winds are calming down allowing -- firefighters to get ahead of that -- and NBC's David Wright is in Glendora joining me now with the latest and David. What a senior standing in front. Absolutely Dan this is the old singer mansion and -- singer sewing machine Ayers. Used to own this house these used to be the servants quarters. As you can now see behind me they are now all gone thankfully the main house which is an historic landmark is still intact. I'm normally this to be mudslides season in California but the wildfire season never ended because of an epic drought. And because apparently of some careless campers 17100. Acres destroyed. Five -- 700 acres consumed rather by the fire five homes destroyed. Overnight red hot flames lit up the ridge lines and one of the most densely populated parts of the country the skyline of downtown LA looked like a volcano was erupting nearby. They came through here like a hurricane like it was just. It went from being calm TU -- -- can even -- the whole house I mean there were sparks flying on our street little teeny -- buyers. In the backyards of million dollar homes. The front lines of the fire it's right behind married seeing -- pentagon -- -- captain Rubin Montana's at his group. Doing their best to defend these houses as strong winds whipped the flames through bone dry brush. Battle fought on the ground. And from the air. Cavalry has arrived in helicopters attacking these flames just in time it looks like this homeowner is very lucky today. There's still a long dry winter ahead. These homeowners formed a bucket brigade tried to keep the -- -- day. For some a losing battle five homes destroyed. Seventeen other buildings were damaged including the singer mansion -- -- by the heirs to the singer sewing machine fortune. Part of it went up in flames. Authorities say the fast moving fire was sparked by a camp fire set by these three men already in custody all three had been booked for recklessly starting a fire today a thousand homeowners forced to evacuate. Are coming back to survey the damage by light of day. Many of them will be happy with what they find only a handful of homes destroyed in this fire but seventeen others badly damaged. Now the -- have died down overnight that's a good sign. But firefighters will still be attacking these flames today officially it's now 30%. Contained. As for those three suspects they could be arraigned later today if currently they're being held. On 20000. To half a million dollars bail them wow what do we know about those three suspects then. One of them apparently is a homeless fellow we don't know much about the other two all of them are in their twenty's. And according to the authorities they were letting a campfire where they shouldn't have been. You're only supposed to like -- during -- fire -- danger. In camp rings official camp rings -- you know -- fires circles that they have that state campsites these guys apparently we're doing this somewhere else. And according to the authorities there were burning paper and the paper flew up in the air with a gust of wind and that spread these flames we should note that California is in the midst of an epic drought. Two thirds of the state is experiencing drought conditions in just a few hours from now governor Jerry Brown is expected to make an official declaration of a drought. And that means that they'll be conservation measures but nothing is going to stop. This dried brush from burning. And fire season fire officials are bracing for what could be the worst fire season the longest fire season in years we and we see the attack. -- coming -- -- from the air but obviously also on the ground covering the front lines as well. Loss of property loss of home certainly nothing that can't be. It replaced but in the biggest thing is the human factor on it any injuries from this -- from firefighters are from homeowners there is trying to get out of there. There were five injuries are believed to firefighters and three civilians they've been. Taken to area hospitals thankfully no lives lost that we know about. But that is of course the big worry here property as you say can be. Replaced there is insurance for that even in fire country. But human lives -- and these things are a massive threat in an area which is so densely populated but is also. Landscape that's built to -- Date David left the district -- that you go quickly because I know you -- is 30% contained at this point -- of the firefighters especially in those kind of fire prone areas. Try to utilize any kind of tools they have or any kind of methods to really contain -- as quickly as it possibly can sometimes incorporating a controlled burn. Have fire officials ruled out that kind of a method because they know that you have to kind of weigh the benefits and the cost for that kind of an approach. That's right they they are doing controlled burns they were doing some overnight. Essentially burning out a line that they can control so that the fire has no fuel to move forward. The problem is that in and time of year when their big hot winds coming in from the desert. The fire can jump even those fire lines and still continue to spread so it's a tricky proposition. Tricky proposition -- obviously dangerous situation ABC's David Wright in Glendora David thank you for that. Of course complete recap right here on abcnews.com. As those efforts continue out in California for -- down Cutler -- New York with this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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