Thousands flee Northern California as wildfires grow
SAN FRANCISCO (AP):
Twin wildfires fuelled by dry vegetation and hot, windy weather continued to grow in Northern California, destroying 55 homes and forcing thousands of residents to flee their neighbourhoods.
California fire officials said yesterday that the two fires about 100 miles (161 kilometres) north of San Francisco were 27 per cent contained, but had grown to almost 250 square miles (648 kilometres).
The two fires cover an area larger than the wildfire that damaged parts of Redding, California, last week, and killed two firefighters.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials said the fire was started two weeks ago by sparks from the steel wheel of a towed trailer's flat tyre.
The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings of extreme fire danger up to last night because of low humidity and gusty winds.
As a precaution, new evacuations were called last Friday for an area of Mendocino and Lake counties where week-old twin fires have destroyed 41 homes and threaten about 9,000 more.
Some evacuations were lifted last Friday in an area near Redding, where armies of fire-fighters and fleets of aircraft have been battling an immense blaze about 100 miles south of the Oregon line.
The Carr Fire is 39 per cent contained after killing six people and incinerating 1,067 homes.