Wed | Sep 19, 2018

California's Governor declares emergency as fires rage throughout state

Published:Thursday | July 26, 2018 | 4:35 PM
A firefighter hoses down hot spots along Highway 243 on Thursday, July 26, 2018, near Idyllwild, California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

DYLLWILD, Calif. (AP) — Fire stoked by hot and windy weather raged through a forest in far northern California on Thursday.

In mountain communities east of Los Angeles, calmer conditions aided firefighters on the lines of a suspected arson wildfire that forced thousands of people to flee.

California Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday issued emergency proclamations in both Riverside County in the south and Shasta County in the north. 

He declarations authorise the state to rally resources to local government.

In the north, new evacuations were ordered for communities in the wilderness recreation region near Whiskeytown Lake as that wildfire tripled in size to more than 31 square miles or 80 square kilometers.

It had already forced residents out of French Gulch, a hamlet dating to the Gold Rush.

French Gulch resident Raquel Hines said she had two hours to evacuate and that others in the former mining town had as little as 30 minutes to leave.

The community has faced two wildfires in the last two weeks, Hines said.

Cal Fire Unit Chief Mike Hebrard told the Record Searchlight newspaper that the blaze made a huge push overnight and that engine crews were in the community of Old Shasta trying to save structures.

Hundreds of miles to the south, winds were absent over the fire in Southern California’s San Jacinto Mountains.

But temperatures were rapidly rising, and forecasters said highs could hit 100 degrees (38 Celsius).

They also warned of possible afternoon wind gusts that could create dangerous fire conditions.

Elsewhere in the state, a huge forest fire continued to grow outside Yosemite National Park.

A total of 100 homes were still considered under threat in the San Francisco Bay community of Clayton.

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