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Fast Moving Wildfire Destroys Homes in Malibu

A fast-moving wildfire destroyed more than a dozen homes and was spreading through the canyons and hills above Malibu on Saturday, forcing dozens of residents to flee ahead of the flames.

A fast-moving wildfire destroyed more than a dozen homes and was spreading through the canyons and hills above Malibu on Saturday, forcing dozens of residents to flee ahead of the flames.

Television images showed homes nestled in the hills engulfed by flames. More than a dozen homes were destroyed but an exact number wasn't known, said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Sam Padilla.

No injuries were reported.

The blaze, fueled by the dry Santa Ana wind, began shortly before 3:30 a.m. PST near Malibu Lake on state park land and had scorched about 1,500 acres, said Los Angeles County fire Capt. Mike Brown. 

About 100 homes in three communities were evacuated, Brown said. An evacuation center was set up at a local high school. Officials at Pepperdine University told its students to move to a campus shelter as a precaution. 

TV images showed a line of flames running along the canyon as plumes of smoke filled the early morning sky.

The blaze was blowing downhill toward the Pacific Ocean. About 200 firefighters were on scene, aided by four water-dropping helicopters, but had not contained any part of the fire by Saturday morning.

``We're at the mercy of the winds right now,'' Brown said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Hundreds of firefighters were placed on watch this weekend as Santa Ana wind returned to Southern California. Gusts up to 60 mph were reported in some mountain passes overnight.