Fire roars into California town, destroying over 100 homes

2016-08-15 22:02
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Lower Lake — A wind-whipped wildfire roared through a Northern California town still recovering from a devastating blaze nearly a year ago, destroying more than 100 homes and forcing thousands of people to flee, authorities said on Monday.

The fire seemed calm on Sunday before gusts kicked up the flames that tore through neighbourhoods in Lower Lake, a town of 1 200, officials said. It reached Main Street and burned the post office, a winery, a Habitat for Humanity office and several businesses as thick, black smoke loomed over the small downtown strip.

Tragically, the burned Habitat for Humanity office had been raising money to help rebuild homes destroyed by one of the state's most destructive blazes nearly a year ago.

Staff at a hospital in Clearlake, a neighbouring town of about 15 000, rushed to transfer 16 patients to another hospital and firefighters carried goats and other animals to safety as homes burned around them.

The blaze was one of 11 large wildfires in California, where high temperatures and parched conditions brought on by a five-year drought raised the fire danger.

Besides the wind, 100-degree heat hindered firefighters struggling to get a handle on the largely out-of-control blaze.

"This fire roared through the city like a wave of water — it was a wave of fire that came through here," said lieutenant Doug Pittman, a Marin County sheriff's spokesperson working on behalf of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Well over 100 homes were destroyed, Califonia Fire spokesperson Daniel Berlant said. Officials did not immediately know how many businesses and other buildings were lost but say thousands are still threatened.

No one was injured, and officials were hopeful the wind won't pick up again.

Read more on:    us  |  fires

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