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Hundreds of homes evacuated due to 'biggest fire in Los Angeles history'

The LA fire is one of several major fires burning in the western United States.

fire A homeowner in Sun Valley waits for help from firefighting helicopters Source: Paul Rodriguez/AP/Press Association Images

A MASSIVE FIRE described as the biggest in the history of Los Angeles has led to the evacuation of hundreds of homes.

Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters the blaze, which broke out Friday and lit up the hills surrounding the northern suburb of Burbank, has already burnt 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares), adding: “In terms of acres involved this is probably the largest fire in LA city history.”

The Los Angeles fire is one of several major fires burning in the western United States.

The federal government has declared states of emergencies in Montana and Washington state, where thousands of people have been evacuated. Such emergencies are declared to release and mobilise federal resources to help fight the fires.

In Los Angeles, Garcetti has declared a local state of emergency and he appealed to California Governor Jerry Brown to do the same at state level.

The Los Angeles blaze has so far destroyed three structures, including two houses, and forced the evacuation of nearly 700 homes in various parts of the city and neighbouring Glendale, firefighters said.

Flames are visible in the hills in several neighborhoods including Burbank, where the Disney and Warner Bros studios are located.

More than 500 firefighters were mobilised, and 100 others who had been deployed in Houston, Texas to help rescue operations after Hurricane Harvey were asked to return.

The fire, which is only 10% controlled, broke out on the US Labour Day long weekend and as the western part of the country was facing a heatwave.

Yosemite 

Some access roads to the famed Yosemite National Park have been closed due to fire, as have hiking trails.

“Expect poor air quality and limited visibility due to fires in Yosemite,” the park said on its website.

Authorities said wind was their main concern because it could whip up the flames and allow it to spread quickly in unpredictable directions.

Further north in Washington state, more than 4,000 homes have been evacuated because of the dangers posed by a number of fires covering 15,000 acres (6,000 hectares).

High temperatures are forecast for the state over the next week, which could complicate firefighting efforts.

Massive forest fires also prompted evacuations in neighbouring Oregon. In Montana, more than 20 fires are burning as near record high temperatures, wind and below normal rainfall have created a tinder box.

© AFP 2017

Read: Part of a ‘long-term trend’, Australia had its hottest winter on record

Read: 60,000 people leave homes in Frankfurt so huge WWII bomb can be defused

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