California wildfires: Death toll to seven as spread continues

Blaze grew more than 25 percent overnight, leading more residents in danger zones to be evacuated.

    So far, at least 100 buildings have been destroyed by the Mendocino Complex and 650 by the Carr fire [Fred Greaves/Reuters]
    So far, at least 100 buildings have been destroyed by the Mendocino Complex and 650 by the Carr fire [Fred Greaves/Reuters]

    A seventh person was killed by the wildfires that have ravaged the western US state of California.

    Details about the death were not made public, but it happened as the scope of a new blaze grew more than 25 percent overnight, leading more residents in danger zones to be evacuated.

    "This is part of a trend, the new normal, that we've got to deal with," said California Governor Jerry Brown, who visited some of the burned areas on Saturday.

    One of the most destructive fires in California history, the Carr fire is still raging about 260km north of the state capital, Sacramento. It has so far killed a firefighter, bulldozer operator, and a grandmother with her two grandchildren, and two others.

    US President Donald Trump declared a "major disaster" in California and ordered federal funding to be made available to help recovery efforts, the White House said in a statement on Sunday.

    Another set of blazes, collectively called the Mendocino Complex, has been growingly rapidly, as well, with only 34 percent considered contained.

    The Mendocino Complex has grown to be bigger than the Carr fire, which is now 41 percent contained, allowing for some evacuated people to return.

    About two-thirds the size of Los Angeles, the fires are scorching earth about 130km north of San Francisco, and have forced the evacuation of more than 20,000 people.

    So far, at least 100 buildings have been destroyed by the Mendocino Complex and 650 by the Carr fire.

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    "Fire season is really just beginning," said California fire director Ken Pimlott.

    "What seems like we should be in the peak of fire season, historically, is really now the kind of conditions we're seeing really at the beginning."

    This year's wildfires in California have been particularly destructive, destroying more than 117,300 hectares - more than double the five-year average.

    More than two million hectares have been destroyed by wildfires throughout the United States.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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