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California Wildfires California Wildfires  (2019 Getty Images)

California Wildfires: State of emergency declared

Around 180,000 people have been ordered to leave their homes as the Kincade fire in Northern California threatens areas as far south as Santa Rosa.

By Lydia O'Kane

TV images show firefighters battling against time to bring wind-driven wildfires under control.

Northern California has been worst hit by the massive fires prompting the state’s Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a statewide emergency.

About 180,000 people were ordered to leave their homes which included towns north of Santa Rosa. Residents were seen packing up their belongings and setting off in their cars against a backdrop of smoke and flames. In addition, more than 2.4 million people lost electricity over the weekend.

Speaking to reporters, Governor Newsom gave details of the challenges they were facing. “The Kincade fire remains the most stubborn challenge that we face.”

Hundreds of people arrived at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa on Sunday where more than 300 slept in cots and beds provided.

This evacuee and volunteer described the situation. “There’s a little bit of panic, there’s a little bit of franticness. “We really urge people to evacuate. Bring your animals with you and we’ll take care of all of you.”

All hands are on deck to make sure that people are safe and the fires are brought under control, however, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the current conditions statewide made California "a tinderbox".

Of the state’s 58 counties, 43 were under red flag warnings for high fire danger.

Listen to the report

 

28 October 2019, 14:23