LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby says he expects further damage assessments to show that hundreds more homes have been lost on top of the 370 already counted as lost in Southern California's huge wildfires.
The Woolsey Canyon Fire seen from Malibu, CA, Photo Date: 11/9/2018 / Photo: LA County Sheriff's Dept / (MGN)
Osby also emphasized Monday that about 57,000 homes have been saved from the so-called Woolsey fire, which burned along a path about 20 miles (32 kilometers) long and 14 miles (22.5 kilometers) wide.
Residents have been allowed to return home in some areas, but Osby says at least 200,000 people remain evacuated.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Osby says nothing has been ruled out.
Gusty Santa Ana winds are rising again in Southern California and firefighters are battling two new wildfires.
Officials say the fires Monday morning west of Los Angeles in the Rocky Peak and Thousand Oaks areas show that the risk of more fires breaking out is high.
Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen says the Rocky Peak fire is about 20 acres (8 hectares) and has forced the shutdown of the State Route 118 freeway.
The blaze is being bombarded with water drops and ground crews are on the scene.
That fire started not far from where the region's huge Woolsey fire began last Thursday.
The new Thousand Oaks fire is about 15 acres (6 hectares) and Lorenzen believes it will be contained quickly.
Authorities have more than doubled their estimates of buildings destroyed in Southern California's huge wildfire.
Officials said Monday that an estimated 370 structures burned and that only 15 percent of their damage estimate has been completed.
They said over the weekend that 177 buildings had burned amid predictions that the number would grow higher with new damage assessments.
The size of the fire has also increased to more than 143 square miles (370 square kilometers) and was 20 percent contained Monday morning.
The fire erupted last Thursday as gusty, dry Santa Ana winds and spread rapidly through communities stretching from northwest of Los Angeles to the Malibu coast.
Some of the thousands of people forced from several communities by the huge Southern California wildfire are being allowed to return to their homes.
Authorities have also reopened U.S. 101. It's a major freeway artery through the fire zone in western Los Angeles County and southeastern Ventura County.
The positive developments come even though Monday's forecast calls for continuing critical fire danger due to gusty Santa Ana winds and extremely low humidity levels. Those conditions are expected to last through Tuesday and possibly into Wednesday.
As of Sunday night, the fire had grown to more than 133 square miles (344 square kilometers) and it was 15 percent contained.
During the weekend authorities reported 177 buildings had burned but said they expect that number to grow when new damage assessments are announced Monday.