The Citizen (KZN)

US wildfires break record

- North Fork

– Wildfires in California have torched a record more than eight million hectares, the state fire department said on Monday, as an uncontroll­ed blaze forced residents to flee their homes.

The record was hit as the wildfire season still has roughly two months to go in the most populous US state and as thousands of firefighte­rs were battling flames during a scorching heat wave.

“In the past 33 years we have not seen a single year go over eight million hectares until this year,” said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) spokespers­on Lynne Tolmachoff. “This is definitely record-breaking and we have not even come close to the end of fire season yet.”

At least seven people have died as a result of this year’s fires and abnout 3 800 structures have been damaged or destroyed.

More than 14 100 firefighte­rs were battling 24 different wildfires as of Monday afternoon, the fire department said.

Among those was the Creek Fire, which started on Friday, according to Cal Fire, and the Oak Fire which began on Sunday in Mendocino county.

In northern California, 200 people were airlifted out after a wildfire trapped them near Mammoth Pool Reservoir northeast of Fresno. – AFP

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