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The Latest Southern California fire evacuations downgraded

MURRIETA, Calif. — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

9:41 a.m.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been downgraded to voluntary for neighborhoods near a wildfire on the outskirts of the Southern California community of Murrieta.

The change comes with an improved situation Friday morning.

The fire is 20% contained after burning just over 3 square miles (7.7 square kilometers).

On Thursday, firefighters defended homes as gusty winds fanned flames scorching backyards.

___

6:56 a.m.

Firefighters have made progress against a wildfire that burned dangerously close to homes in Southern California while another blaze has exploded in size in a remote area at the northern end of the state.

An approximately 3-square-mile (7.7-square-kilometer) threatening the communities of Murrieta and La Cresta is 20% contained early Friday.

Some roads have reopened but mandatory evacuation orders for about 570 homes remain in place, along with a voluntary evacuation advisory for another 2,200.

The fire broke out Wednesday, possibly from a lightning strike as thunderstorms moved through.

In Northern California, a lightning-sparked fire in a remote area of Tehama County west of the city of Red Bluff has grown to more than 9 square miles (23.3 square kilometers), with no containment.

Evacuations have been ordered for rural properties.

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