When Chuck Wilsey was ordered to evacuate this weekend as a wildfire roared near his ranch home in Oroville, California, he was ready.

Wilsey says he started keeping his truck and camper loaded with supplies in February after anxiously watching a creek on his property swell during winter rains that prompted thousands to flee when spillways in the nation's tallest dam began crumbling.

He's one of about 4,000 people who evacuated as flames raced through foothills in the Sierra Nevada, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of Sacramento.

Crews are making progress on that fire and two major blazes burning in San Bernardino County.

Authorities are hopeful some Oroville evacuees will be able to return Monday.

The fire has blackened 9 square miles (23 square kilometers) of grass. It's 35 percent contained.

The area burning is southeast of Oroville, where dam spillway damage led to temporary evacuation orders for 200,000 residents downstream.

Slightly cooler temperatures and diminishing winds are helping California firefighters as they battle several wildfires that have forced thousands to flee their homes.

In Southern California, at least 3,500 people evacuated as two fires raged at separate ends of Santa Barbara County. The largest has charred more than 45 square miles (116 square kilometers) of dry brush and is threatening more than 130 rural homes. It's 15 percent contained.

About 50 miles (80 kilometers) to the south, a 17-square-mile (44-square-kilometer) blaze shut down State Route 154 and sent weekend campers scrambling for safety. It's just 5 percent contained.