U.S. officials in California say thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as wildfires burned through an area in the state’s north still recovering from several fires in recent years.
Authorities say the fast-moving fire has already destroyed 22 structures in near the Mendocino National Forest, about 110 km northwest of the state capital, Sacramento.
The fire has forced more than 3,000 people to leave their homes and led to California Governor Jerry Brown declaring a state of emergency for Lake County.
The region has been hard-hit by fires in recent years with a series of blazes in 2015 killing four people and destroying 2,000 buildings. The area was also hit by a fire in 2016 as well as last year’s wildfires that ripped through Northern California wine country.
Fire officials say more than 230 firefighters are battling the Lake County fire, which has already charred more than 3300 hectares. Firefighters Monday were using water-dropping helicopters and bulldozers, but were still struggling to contain the blaze.
Also Monday, authorities lifted evacuation orders in Tehama County, where two wildfires were burning. Multiple homes and businesses in the city of Red Bluff were destroyed in that fire.
California officials say the fires are being fueled by unusually hot weather, high winds and vegetation turned brittle by drought. The drought in California and other western states have forced authorities to close some national parks as a precaution against more wildfires.