CaliforniaWildfires 1stLd-Writethru 10-22

Several structures burn as strong, gusting winds push flames through Malibu, Calif., on Sunday.

Winds flame wildfires

From the high desert to the Pacific Ocean, out-of-control wildfires engulfed swaths of drought-parched Southern California, claiming one life, destroying several homes and a church in Malibu, and forcing an entire community to evacuate.

Thousands more homes remained at risk as hot, dry Santa Ana desert winds continued to churn into the region early today. Firefighters started the weekend on high alert as forecasters warned of strong winds. But by Sunday night, they had to admit they were overwhelmed.

The Malibu fire was among about a dozen blazes that burned more than 35,000 acres from north of Santa Barbara to San Diego. Late Sunday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in seven Southern California counties.

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