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Fires have broken out across California in recent weeks, with some now stretching into Nevada, destroying everything in their path. Hot weather conditions have led to the state governor to declare a state of emergency as the fires continue to rage, causing mass evacuations and devastation across the sunshine state.
Fires have been ongoing for a number of weeks, caused by intense temperatures and lightning that has hit the area recently, with some accidental man-made fires occurring too.
Firefighters have been tackling the blazes fuelled by swirling winds, dry air and scorching temperatures amid a statewide heat wave.
Tens of thousands are under evacuation orders in California as more than two dozen large wildfires burn in the northern and central part of the state, with the most serious and urgent situation unfolding in the city of Vacaville, about 35 miles southwest of Sacramento.
The city of 100,000 is under partial evacuation orders because of the advancing flames.
Evacuation orders are in effect in the following places:
- Napa county wine country north of San Francisco Bay
- Near Salinas in Monterey county
- Oroville Dam north of Sacramento
- Near the Nevada state line north of Lake Tahoe
Evacuation orders have also been issued in the mountains along the borders of San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties and in parts of Sonoma County.
The fires in Napa and Sonoma come just a few years after devastating fires there killed 22 in 2017 and wiped out numerous wineries.
“Practically every single first responder unit in town is actively working to safely notify, evacuate and fight the fires, so our residents are safe,” the Vacaville Police Department tweeted.
Most worrying for firefighters at the moment is the SCU Lightning Complex fire – made up of fires burning in several Bay Area counties – which has so far consumed 25,000 acres and very little has been contained.
Grim images have emerged from the area, showing destroyed homes and wildlife desperately trying to flee the flames.
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No fatalities have yet been reported from the fires.
Wildfires in the USA are common, and are usually caused by the heat of the sun causing a small fire, and then dry conditions and wind cause the fire to spread.
It is also thought some may have been caused by lightning from a recent tropical storm.
Climate research has consistently shown clear links between the severity, occurrence and duration of heat waves, like the one now gripping the West, and human-caused global warming.
California is, unfortunately, no stranger to such disasters.
California has dry, windy, and often hot weather conditions from spring through to late autumn which are a perfect breeding ground for fires to start.
The deadliest wildfire was in 2018, called Camp Fire, in which 86 people died and more than 18,000 structures were destroyed.
The fire destroyed an entire town, named Paradise, which still remains deserted today.
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