14 Sep 2015

California wildfires 'state of emergency'

3:55 pm on 14 September 2015

The governor of California has declared a state of emergency after wildfires forced thousands of people to flee their homes in the north of the state.

USA, Kings Canyon: The so-called Rough wildfire — which had spread over 95,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada mountains by September 8, 2015 — is photographed as it burns through Kings Canyon National Park in California on August 28

The so-called Rough wildfire has spread over 95,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada mountains, burning through Kings Canyon National Park Photo: AFP

Governor Jerry Brown said the fires had destroyed buildings in the Napa and Lake counties and threatened hundreds of others.

Four firefighters who were badly burned tackling one blaze are receiving treatment in hospital, while scores of properties are reported to have been destroyed.

More than 1,300 people fled Middletown, north of San Francisco, as their homes were consumed by the flames.

Flames from an open gas line burn next to a destroyed truck in the driveway of a home charred by the Valley fire in Middletown, California

Flames from an open gas line burn next to a destroyed truck in Middletown, California Photo: AFP

The state spent more than $335 million fighting the flames in July alone, California's forestry and fire protection department spokesman Daniel Berlant told the AFP news agency.

Mr Berlant said more than 275 homes and other buildings had been destroyed and the Red Cross was opening emergency shelters for evacuated residents.

The fires across northern California are being blamed on high temperatures and years of drought.

- BBC

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