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In pictures: Hundreds of wildfires burning across the state in California

Nearly two dozen wildfires in and around the Santa Cruz Mountains along the Pacific coast, 22,000 people evacuated

California wildfires

BS Web Team New Delhi
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Crew were battling wildfires in the San Francisco Bay Area and thousands of people were under orders to evacuate. Governor Gavin Newsom blamed the extraordinary weather and lightning strikes for the 367 known fires, including 23 major ones or groups of fires. He said the state had recorded nearly 11,000 lightning strikes in 72 hours.

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Police and firefighters went door-to-door before dawn on Wednesday in a frantic scramble to warn residents to evacuate as fire encroached on Vacaville, a city of about 100,000 between San Francisco and Sacramento. At least 50 structures were destroyed, including some homes.

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Blazes engulfed rural and forest areas near the San Francisco Bay Area, near Salinas in Monterey County, around Oroville Dam north of Sacramento, forested areas west of Silicon Valley, in remote Mendocino County and near the Nevada state line north of Lake Tahoe.

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Ash and smoke filled the air over San Francisco, which is surrounded by wildfires burning in multiple counties to the north, east and south. The so-called LNU Lightning fire is made up of several fires burning in five counties north of San Francisco, including in Vacaville, and had consumed 72 square miles as of Wednesday morning (186 square kilometres).

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The highway was closed in both directions shortly afterward. Fire crews across the region scrambled to contain dozens of wildfires sparked by lightning strikes as a statewide heat wave continued.

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Early Sunday morning, a severe lightning storm caused several fires near the Round Valley Regional Preserve and Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. Last night residents in the area were asked to voluntarily evacuate by local officials as the fire neared homes.

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First Published: Aug 20 2020 | 7:09 PM IST

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