San Diego County authorities declared a local emergency Wednesday because of wildfires that destroyed more than 20 structures, including homes, in the northern part of the region.

Map shows location of fires and evacuation areas in North San Diego County.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob addressed reporters at a 3:30 p.m. press conference and implored residents to have an emergency preparedness kit ready, and to evacuate if asked to by authorities.

“It could make the difference between life and death,” Jacob said, recalling the 2003 Cedar Fire in which 15 people lost their lives while either trying to escape the fire or save homes.

The declaration requests that Gov. Jerry Brown declare a state of emergency.

Such proclamations pave the way for the county to tap into state and federal resources to fight the blazes.

Firefighters are battling wind-driven blazes in Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, Bonsall and Camp Pendleton.

On Tuesday, flames scorched nearly 1,600 acres between 4S Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe. That fire prompted an emergency declaration for the city of San Diego by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

–City News Service

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