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Fears over wind as wildfires spread

Firefighters are braced for strong winds in the area of two wildfires north of Los Angeles that have burned about 40 homes.

At least 150 more homes are under threat and about 2,300 people have had to evacuate the area.

The two blazes in mostly rural Kern County remain out of control after scorching more than 26 square miles of hilly pine forests and shrub land.

A blaze that erupted on Tuesday 10 miles south east of Tehachapi has destroyed 30 to 40 homes and threatened the remaining 150 homes in the tiny community of Old West Ranch.

Homes in the eastern foothills of the Tehachapi Mountains were smouldering, with one structure appearing to have collapsed in on itself. A singed wooden banister was the only piece of the home left standing. A whitish-yellow haze of smoke covered the blackened ground.

About 250 firefighters from several different agencies were battling the 1,230-acre blaze, along with water-dropping aircraft. Crews worked through the night to bulldoze fire lines and burn fire breaks designed to halt the blaze in its tracks.

The fire, about 70 miles north of Los Angeles, is moving away from the mix of mobile homes and large new stucco houses.

However, the flames leapfrogged through the area, leaving patches of smouldering brush and logs that could blaze up if winds pick up, county fire Battalion Chief David Goodell said.

In northern Kern County, a wildfire in Sequoia National Forest burned about 15,600 acres and was only 5% surrounded. The fire, which began on Monday, destroyed six homes. No other homes were immediately threatened.

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