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California wildfires: Hundreds evacuated as flames spread

A firefighter drinks water in front of a burning house near Oroville, California (09 July 2017)Image copyright AFP
Image caption Firefighters are dealing with blazes across the length and breadth of California, which is regularly hit by such outbreaks at this time of the year

Wildfires in California are quickly spreading, forcing hundreds of people to be evacuated, officials say.

A combination of high temperatures and parched land has added to the difficulties of firefighters.

About 17 fires fanned by strong winds are raging across the length and breadth of the US state, all in different stages of containment.

The fires are especially bad in Santa Barbara County where one is spanning an area of more than 35 sq mi (93 sq km).

Thousands of firefighters have been deployed, from the Six Rivers National Forest in the north to the San Bernardino Forest east of Los Angeles. Several injuries have been reported and numerous homes destroyed.

Forecasters have warned that temperatures are likely to remain high with the elderly and children in particular danger.

Air quality is reported to be noticeably poorer in areas inland from Los Angeles.

California is regularly hit by wildfires at this time of the year.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The flames have been fanned by low humidity, high temperatures and a strong breeze
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Some residents have taken the precaution of covering their vehicles with fire retardants
Image copyright AFP
Image caption California is now being hit by “dangerous and potentially life-threatening heat”, authorities say
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Smoke from various fires can be seen across the state, with concern rising about air quality in some areas

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