Wildfires are raging near Los Angeles as the region swelters under an intense heatwave. Columns of smoke can be seen towering over the LA skyline as two fires less than two miles apart devour brush in the Angeles National Forest north of the city. Residents have been evacuated from suburbs in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. In the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank, the mercury reached a record high of 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 Celsius).

Police in the city of Azusa and parts of Duarte ordered several hundred homes to be evacuated. The two fires grew to a combined area of seven square miles and brought fears they could soon merge into one. One fire was sparked by a fatal car crash, the California Highway Patrol said.

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Huge smoke clouds from two fires burning in the Angeles National Forest tower over the LA skylineJonathan Alcorn/Reuters
California wildfires
A Los Angeles County Fire helicopter makes a night drop while battling the Fish Fire above AzusaGene Blevins/Reuters
California wildfires
The Summer Solstice moon is turned oranged by the haze of the Fish Fire above AzusaGene Blevins/Reuters
California wildfires
A metro train travels near smoke clouds from one of two wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest above AzusaGene Blevins/Reuters
California wildfires
Sheriff's deputies evacuate horses as the Fish Fire approaches Duarte, northeast of Los AngelesRobyn Beck/AFP
California wildfires
Rich Gentry moves his chickens into a carrier to transport them to safety in Duarte, as twin fires continue to burn in the San Gabriel ValleyRobyn Beck/AFP
California wildfires
A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant in Duarte, CaliforniaRobyn Beck/AFP
California wildfires
A sign on the entrance of a fast food restaurant warns of hot door handles as temperatures soar in an early heatwave in Azusa, northeast of Los AngelesRobyn Beck/AFP

Elsewhere, fire crews are making progress against the so-called Sherpa Fire in rugged coastal mountains west of Santa Barbara. More than 1,900 firefighters are battling the nearly week-old blaze. Another wildfire is raging near Potrero, a small desert town close to the Mexico border, forcing the evacuation of people from a ranching community about 40 miles south-east of San Diego.

California wildfires
An emu runs to escape an approaching wildfire as it burns near PotreroMike Blake/Reuters
California wildfires
Flames come close to a home near Potero, CaliforniaMike Blake/Reuters
California wildfires
Firefighters use a helicopter to battle a wildfire as it burns in the hills near PotreroMike Blake/Reuters
California wildfires
A firefighter rescues a dog for its owner as a fast approaching wildfire burns near Potrero, CaliforniaMike Blake/Reuters
California wildfires
A wildfire burns in the hills near near Potero, CaliforniaMike Blake/Reuters
California wildfires
A home owner and her dog look on as a fast approaching wildfire burns near her home outside PoteroMike Blake/Reuters
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US Forest Service firefighters walk to their truck after battling a wildfire near PotreroMike Blake/Reuters
California wildfires
A bomber drops fire retardant on a wildfire as it attacks the flames near Campo, CaliforniaMike Blake/Reuters
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A firefighter battles flames from the Sherpa Fire in Santa BarbaraMike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department/Reuters
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A firefighting Grumman S-2T aircraft drops fire retardant over vegetation near Santa BarbaraDavid McNew/AFP
California wildfires
A firefighter douses glowing embers near Santa BarbaraDavid McNew/AFP
California wildfires
Firefighters watch over a burning canyon near Santa BarbaraDavid McNew/AFP
California wildfires
Firefighters stand in a freshly scorched landscape at the Sherpa Fire near Santa BarbaraDavid McNew/AFP
California wildfires
Firefighters stand watch over flames in the early morning hours at the Sherpa Fire near Santa BarbaraDavid McNew/AFP
California wildfires
A firefighting BAe-146s jet drops fire retardant onto the Sherpa Fire near Santa BarbaraDavid McNew/AFP
California wildfires
Trees are covered in red Phos-chek fire retardant dropped from firefighting aircraft near Santa BarbaraDavid McNew/AFP

Other blazes have burned wide swathes across Arizona and New Mexico, where firefighters are also facing blistering temperatures. In Phoenix, Arizona, the temperature climbed to 118F (nearly 48C).