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(Reuters) - Firefighters scrambled on Thursday to contain a deadly wildfire that has forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents and gutted dozens of homes near the coast of central California. The blaze burned through drought-stricken chaparral, tall grass and timber in its march through over 23,500 acres (9,510 hectares) at the edge of the Los Padres National Forest, where 350 residents have been evacuated, according to fire officials. Some 3,500 firefighters battling the blaze may get a reprieve from the hot, blustery weather on Thursday when temperatures are forecast to ease to the upper 70s (25-26 degrees Centigrade) with light winds.
The prosecutor's office named the assailant as 19-year-old Abdel Malik Petitjean, who was listed in June on France's "Fiche S" of people posing a potential threat to national security after trying to reach Syria from Turkey. Petitjean, whose face was disfigured after being shot dead by police, had been harder to identify than his accomplice Adel Kermiche, also 19, and investigators confirmed his identity after a DNA match with his mother. The attack came as the government was already facing a firestorm of criticism over alleged security failings after the Bastille Day truck massacre that left 84 people dead two weeks ago.