With more than 119,000 acres charred, firefighters battled dozens of stubborn fires in five western states, and arson investigators targeted three residential fires that destroyed 145 California homes and damaged 30.
Firefighters were plagued by heat, fatigue, inaccessible terrain and tinder-dry brush as they continued fighting blazes in California, Arizona, Washington, Idaho and Oregon.
The worst blaze blackened more than 26,000 acres around Ojai, 85 miles northwest of Los Angeles, and threatened at one point to engulf the town. More than 2,100 people were evacuated from the path of the Ojai fire, and 11 buildings were destroyed.
"I've seen several fire units stand toe-to-toe against 120-foot flames and save a wood A-frame home up there. They did great. It took a lot of guts. Some real gallantry is going on up there," a Forest Service spokesman said.
Gov. George Deukmejian declared a state of emergency in the burned-out Baldwin Hills section of Los Angeles, two days after making a similar declaration for the Normal Heights section of San Diego. The two arson fires killed three persons and destroyed 116 homes.
In Baldwin Hills, 52 houses were destroyed and 13 extensively damaged. The fatalities occurred when two persons were trapped behind barred windows as the flash fire sped through the area. The third body, that of a clothed woman, was found in a bathtub. At least 320 people are homeless.