Firefighters battle wildfires

Wildfires that have killed at least 6 people and caused thousands to be evacuated from their homes have been declared by US President Donald Trump as a major disaster and he has released federal aid to support the area.

There are 14,000 firefighters battling almost 600 fires that have now burnt nearly one million acres of land. In California’s oldest state park, flames have scorched 2,000 year old redwood trees and the historic visitor centre of Big Basin State Park was burnt to the ground.  Local officials say some of the mammoth trees, which tower as high as 330ft (100 metres), have fallen as the area was “extensively damaged”.

Forecast high winds are now threatening to drive the fires into more populated areas as foul air blankets the state. The majority of the damage has been caused by three large fires in mountainous and wooded rural areas.

Yesterday the state’s Governor Gavin Newsom said that the SCU Lightening Complex fire south and east of San Francisco is the third-largest in California’s history.  The evacuation order has now been extended to thousands of people in the Bay area of San Jose and others in close proximity to the fires have been told to be prepared to leave their homes at short notice.

 


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