CARLSBAD (AP) -- Flames engulfed suburban homes and shot up along canyon ridges in the worst of a half-dozen blazes that broke out Wednesday in Southern California during a second day of a sweltering heat wave.
Thick black smoke darkened blue skies over the Pacific Coast city of Carlsbad, about 30 miles north of San Diego, known for its Legoland California amusement park. The park was closed Wednesday because of a power outage caused by the fire.
Over the past two days, at least six wildfires scattered within about 10 to 20 miles of each other have broken out in northern San Diego County.
Canyons were ablaze with walls of flames racing between ridge-top homes and freeways. At least two firefighters suffered minor injuries -- one heat-related and one from smoke inhalation.
Thousands were asked to evacuate their homes -- including in Carlsbad -- after the blaze erupted at 10:34 a.m. Wednesday and spread through rapidly heavy brush before jumping into residential areas.
Despite a state fire report of 30 homes burned earlier in the day, Carlsbad Fire Chief Michael Davis said he knows of just three homes destroyed and about a dozen damaged, all of them in the same neighborhood.
The wind-driven wildfire tossed embers onto roofs and trees, igniting them. Firefighters found themselves evacuating people and battling the blaze at the same time, Nick Schuler of Cal Fire said.
The fire's forward spread had been stopped, but hot spots remain, he said. More than 50 engines were coming in from around the state to help.
"There's days of work to be done" before the fire is doused, Davis said, adding that "this fire's fingered in all locations."
A steady stream of residents stopped at a roadblock on a four-lane thoroughfare as they tried to return home to collect valuables.
Richard Sanchez watched nervously as a plume of black smoke rose near his home. He had left his house an hour earlier in sandals to run an errand.
"All I want to do is get there and evacuate," Sanchez said. "We have a plan, but I can't execute it."
As authorities yelled "Please evacuate!" in Joe Post's Carlsbad neighborhood, he grabbed a garden hose and doused a palm tree in flames between his home and his neighbor's. He debated about leaving his home but was worried what he might find upon returning.
"Work water work!" he shouted, spraying down charred landscaping near his home.
The scattered fires prompted schools to be evacuated in at least three communities, including the campus of Cal State San Marcos, where fires scorched a hillside behind the school that has nearly 10,000 students.