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Dublin: 16°C Friday 17 September 2021

Photos: Firefighters battle wildfires in California

The local fire department warned that just 20 per cent of the blaze has been contained.

HOMES AND BUSINESSES in California been ordered to evacuate as wildfires have raged across a large area, fuelled by strong winds.

Firefighters have been battling the blaze in southern California which has almost tripled in size since it broke out on Thursday. The local fire department has warned that the fire now covers 28,000 acres and that only about 20 per cent of the fire has so far been contained.

At least 925 firefighters and police have been called to the scene, as well as 96 fire engines and 6 helicopters.  So far 15 homes in the area have sustained damage but firefighters said none have been destroyed.

However the Ventura County Fire Department warned that 4,000 homes are threatened by the blaze.  The use of helicopters to tackle the blaze was stopped for the night and is due to begin again shortly.

California’s climate means it often has wildfires during the summer, but this one was triggered unexpectedly early by strong winds coupled with temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius.

The LA Times reports that firefighters in Los Angeles has been preparing for an outbreak of fires due to the recent high winds. “We  hit it quickly,” a fire department spokesperson told the paper.

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The Ventura County Fire Department thanked people in the local area for evacuating and co-operating. In a statement, the department said it did not expect any more updates on the fire until sunrise (around 2pm Irish-time. “All of us involved in this effort thank you for your support,” the VCFD said.

Additional reporting by AFP

(Photos: AP Photo/Nick Ut, AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

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Christine Bohan

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