Trump declares California wildfires major disaster

Trump declares California wildfires major disaster
Fire-fighters are working 72-hour shifts but say it is not enough to contain the wildfires. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: US President Donald Trump has declared the California wildfires a major disaster and he has released federal aid. The devastating wildfires burning through homes and devastating precious forestry in California.

More than 14,000 fire-fighters are battling 585 fires that have now burnt nearly one million acres (400,000 ha) of land.

Weather forecast predicted of high winds that are threatening to drive flames into more populated areas as foul air blankets the state.

At least six people have died sop far and thousands have evacuated.

Most of the destruction has been caused by three large fires complexes in wooded and mountainous rural areas.

Governor Gavin Newsom said on Saturday that the SCU Lightening Complex fire south and east of San Francisco is the third-largest in California’s history.

He tweeted a video video that showed burnt tree stumps against the reddened fumes-filled sky and plumes of white smoke rising from ash-laden ground.

On Saturday, an evacuation order extended to thousands of people in the Bay area near San Jose and the notice warned others to be prepared to abandon their homes at short notice.

Exhausted fire-fighters continue to battle the California wildfires, with some working 72-hour shifts in the hot and dangerous conditions, according to reports of AP news agency.

“They’re scrambling for bodies” to help fight the fires, an official in the city of Fresno told Reuters.

In California’s oldest state park, flames scorched redwood trees that are more than 2,000 years old. Officials say the historic visitor centre of Big Basin State Park was burnt to the ground and some trees, which tower as high as 330ft (100 metres), have fallen as the area was “extensively damaged”.

California faces more acute shortage of personnel than usual – the coronavirus pandemic has depleted a fire-fighting corps made up of prisoners, which has helped the state battle blazes since World War Two, due to early releases from jail.

The state authority said at least 43 people including fire-fighters have been injured, and hundreds of buildings have burned down and thousands more are threatened.

The fire doubled its size on Friday and continued to grow moderately on Saturday and fire-fighters made some progress in containing the flames.

Last week more than 12,000 dry lightning strikes started the blazes. It caused during a historic heat wave in which thermometers in Death Valley National Park reached what could be the highest ever temperature reliably recorded.

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