Fire rages across California, governor pleading for help

Six people have since been killed in wildfires that continue to rage across California burning through forests and homes.

More than 12,000 fire-fighters have been dispersed to fight the 560 fires, two of which are now the 7th and 10th largest in the state’s history.

More than 12,000 dry lightning strikes started the blazes during a historic heatwave in which thermometers in Death Valley National Park reached 130F (54.4C)- what could be the highest ever temperature reliably recorded.

By Friday, emergency officials said some of the fires had doubled in size in a day, forcing 175,000 residents to flee.

Governor Gavin Newsom said the state is struggling to contain the fires and pleading on President Donald Trump to issue a declaration of national disaster. Governor Newsom is also asking for help from Canada and Australia.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says some businesses will reopen Friday, with  conditions
Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo: CNBC.com)

“We simply haven’t seen anything like this in many, many years,” he said, adding that an area the size of the US state of Rhode Island had already burned within California.

At least 43 people including firefighters have been injured, and hundreds of buildings have burned down and thousands more are threatened.

Many blazes are burning on steep, difficult-to-access terrain and have been fuelled by strong winds. The fires are also threatening larger towns including Santa Cruz where flames reached within a mile of the University of California Santa Cruz campus, reports Reuters news agency.