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A home burns Sunday on Tierra Del Sol Road near the community of Boulevard, Calif. Firefighters on Monday removed a body from a burned house near Campo.
Charlie Neuman/UT San Diego
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CAMPO, Calif. (AP)--Firefighters recovered a body from a burned house Monday as they raced the winds to contain Southern California wildfires that destroyed 20 homes and threatened several hundred more in rural areas.
Crews battled the blaze amid winds gusting up to 20 mph that were expected to continue late Monday in southeastern San Diego County, where a 3-square-mile fire churned slowly through hilly brushlands in a desert area near the U.S.-Mexico border.
It's too soon to know the gender of the body found just before 2:30 p.m. inside a home on Tierra del Sol Road near Campo, said Cal Fire spokesman Capt. Richard Cordova.
A man described by U-T San Diego as an 82-year-old with one leg was living at the home and was reported missing by neighbors.
Neighbors told authorities he had refused to evacuate and his only car was parked outside, prompting the search. Firefighters and sheriff's deputies had to wait several hours before it was safe enough to enter the charred home, San Diego County sheriff's spokeswoman Melissa Aquino said.
The 2,000-acre blaze was 10 percent surrounded Monday. About 80 homes were ordered evacuated near the Campo Indian Reservation.
The fire has destroyed 20 homes, damaged 10 and burned 15 outbuildings since it erupted Sunday, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt. Mike Mohler.
An evacuation center was set up at a high school in the nearby community of Pine Valley. Many residents gathered at the Golden Acorn Casino, which also served as the command post, to learn whether their homes were still standing.
Farther north, a 150-acre wildfire in Riverside County was about 90 percent contained. It had been reduced mainly to embers but still posed a potential threat to as many as 200 homes in the Murrieta area if afternoon winds pushed it over fire lines, Murrieta Fire Chief Matt Shobert said.
The cause of both fires was under investigation.
Elsewhere in the West, major wildfires in Washington on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range were relatively calm, but smoke continued to blanket some communities Monday.
The two largest fires were reported as bigger in size due mostly to better mapping and the use of burnouts to create fire lines, officials said.