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1st of major San Diego-area fires accidental

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Firefighter Philip Pinal, of Cal-Fire Lions Valley, searches for burning embers in a devastated home after a wildfire Friday, May 16, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Some evacuation orders were lifted early Friday in an area near the fiercest of several wildfires in San Diego County, as crews building containment lines around the blazes hoped cooler temperatures will help them make further progress. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Firefighter Philip Pinal, of Cal-Fire Lions Valley, searches for burning embers in a devastated home after a wildfire Friday, May 16, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Some evacuation orders were lifted early Friday in an area near the fiercest of several wildfires in San Diego County, as crews building containment lines around the blazes hoped cooler temperatures will help them make further progress. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

A Riverside firefighter moves away as shifting winds bring a plume of smoke overhead during a wildfire Thursday, May 15, 2014, in Escondido, Calif. One of the nine fires burning in San Diego County suddenly flared Thursday afternoon and burned close to homes, trigging thousands of new evacuation orders. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Glenn Farrell helps his brother, Joe Brown, right, as they douse water on smoldering vegetation around their home during a wildfire Thursday, May 15, 2014, in Escondido, Calif. One of the nine fires burning in San Diego County suddenly flared Thursday afternoon and burned close to homes, trigging thousands of new evacuation orders. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Sean Teng, right, holds on to the family dog, Pup, front, as his father Midi Teng, center, and sister Annie Teng, left, arrive home from wildfire evacuations Friday, May 16, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Some evacuation orders were lifted early Friday in an area near the fiercest of several wildfires in San Diego County, as crews building containment lines around the blazes hoped cooler temperatures will help them make further progress. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Nina Huang, left, greets her neighbor, Snow Teng, right, in the middle of their street after coming home from wildfire evacuations Friday, May 16, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Some evacuation orders were lifted early Friday in an area near the fiercest of several wildfires in San Diego County, as crews building containment lines around the blazes hoped cooler temperatures will help them make further progress. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Some evacuation orders were lifted early Friday in an area near the fiercest of several wildfires in San Diego County, as crews building containment lines around the blazes hoped cooler temperatures will help them make further progress.

County officials said residents of two neighborhoods of San Marcos were allowed to return home. A flare-up Thursday in the north San Diego suburb prompted more than 18,000 new evacuation notices as flames raced through tinder-dry brush on hillsides. That fire was 10 percent contained Friday morning.

Fires have destroyed at least eight houses, an 18-unit condominium complex and two businesses since Tuesday. The hardest-hit areas were in San Marcos and Carlsbad, a suburb of 110,000 people that lifted evacuation orders late Thursday.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said Friday that sparks from faulty construction equipment working on a graded field caused the first of the string of blazes.

The fire that erupted Tuesday and charred more than 1,500 acres in the Rancho Bernardo suburb was ruled accidental. The causes of eight other wildfires that broke out the next day and another large blaze at Camp Pendleton that started on Thursday have not been determined.

Firefighters found a badly burned body Thursday in a transient camp in Carlsbad — the first apparent fatality — and a Camp Pendleton Fire Department firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion.

To the north, crews battled two fires at Camp Pendleton, including the one that broke out Thursday and grew overnight from 600 acres to 8,000, base officials said. It was 10 percent contained Friday. The second fire, sparked Wednesday on the eastern outskirts of the Marine base, scorched nearly 10 square miles of dry brush. That blaze was 23 percent contained Friday.

This week’s unseasonably early wildfires have driven tens of thousands from their homes and shut down schools and amusement parks, including Legoland, which reopened Thursday. The flames have caused more than $20 million in damage.

In Escondido, just southeast of San Marcos, Al Said stood in front of his spared home on Friday and pointed out two burned neighboring houses. He chose not to evacuate and used a garden hose to help firefighters save his home.

“By the grace of God and the hard work of these firefighters, they came in and they saved my house right here,” he told The Associated Press. “It was pretty touch and go. Just an awesome sight when you see that fire come through. It’s just terrifying.”

Firefighters who have worked in temperatures sometimes topping 100 degrees this week were expected to get relief on Friday. The forecast called for temperatures to peak around 90 and lighter winds. A bigger cool-down was forecast for the weekend.

It could take months to find the causes of the blazes concentrated in the northern San Diego and its northern suburbs, from the coast to areas 10 to 15 miles inland. San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said arson will be among the many possibilities that investigators will examine.

Police in Escondido, a city north of San Diego, arrested a teenager and adult for investigation of arson in two small fires that were extinguished within minutes in a park area near a mall. Lt. Neal Griffin said Friday authorities are not ruling out anything yet but have found no evidence linking the two to the large blazes.

Crews, along with engines and aircraft, were ready to spring into action when the first fire ignited Tuesday after being sent to the region in anticipation of a heat wave and gusty winds.

The positioning of crews was among several steps fire officials say they

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