May 15, 2014— -- Nine wildfires chased thousands of Californians from their homes today despite attempts by an army of firefighters and fleet of planes to contain the rampaging flames.
Firefighters are battling around the clock. Authorities said 22 military aircraft will be overhead today, trying to contain the flames.
Conditions are making that effort problematic. Firefighters contended with temperatures approaching 100 degrees and gusty winds as they tried to contain flames fueled by brush and trees left brittle by drought.
The most destructive of the fires so far was in the coastal city of Carlsbad, about 30 miles north of San Diego and home to Legoland. The park was closed because of a power outage caused by the fire.
Walls of flames engulfed homes, and powerful winds formed firenados.
Thick plumes of gray smoke rising into the sky from the raging wildfires could be seen for miles.
The flames destroyed houses, too, consuming possessions and memories. Resident Greg Saska, who lost his home, was happy to be alive.
“What can you do? Nothing. Hey, at least I'm alive and healthy,” Saska said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report