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California blaze destroys 100 homes as thousands flee

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California blaze destroys 100 homes as thousands flee

Rapidly moving Mill Fire in northern California burns about 1,620 hectares of land and prompts evacuations of thousands of American residents.

California blaze destroys 100 homes as thousands flee
California is in a deep drought as it heads into what traditionally is the worst of the fire season.
(AP)

A wind-swept wildfire in US state of California has torn through a neighbourhood and destroyed about 100 homes and other buildings, fire officials said after at least two people were injured and thousands were forced from their homes in the rural area.

The Mill Fire started shortly before 1 pm Friday just north of Weed, a city of about 2,600 people 402 kilometres north of San Francisco.

The flames raced into the Lincoln Heights neighbourhood where a significant number of homes burned and residents had to flee for their lives.

Two people were brought to Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta. One was in stable condition and the other was transferred to UC Davis Medical Center, which has a burn unit.

Cal Fire Siskiyou Unit Chief Phil Anzo said crews worked all day and night to protect structures in Weed and in a subdivision to the east known as Carrick Addition.

“There’s a lot at stake on that Mill Fire,” he said. ‘There’s a lot of communities, a lot of homes there.”

Weather conditions improved overnight and firefighters were able to get 20 percent containment but another blaze, the Mountain Fire, that broke out on Friday northwest of Weed grew substantially. 

Anzo estimated about 100 homes and other buildings were lost in the Mill Fire.

Thousands evacuated

The latest fire started at or near Roseburg Forest Products, which makes wood products. Evacuation orders were quickly put in effect for 7,500 people.

At about the time the blaze started, power outages were reported that affected some 9,000 customers, and several thousand remained without electricity late into the night due to the wildfire, according to power company PacifiCorp.

It was the third large wildfire in as many days in California, which is now sweltering under a heat wave that was expected to push temperatures past the 37.7-degree mark in many areas through Labor Day.

The Mill Fire was burning about an hour’s drive from the Oregon state line. It was only about 48 kilometres southeast of where the McKinney Fire — the state’s deadliest of the year — erupted in late July. It killed four people and destroyed dozens of homes.

California is in a deep drought as it heads into what traditionally is the worst of the fire season.

Scientists say the climate crisis has made the West warmer and drier over the last three decades and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

In the last five years, California has experienced the largest and most destructive fires in state history. Weed has seen three major fires since 2014.
Source: AP


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