California mountain communities evacuated as wildfire grows

2016-09-27 17:31
A plane drops water in an attempt to control wildfires burning through hillsides in California. (Dan Krauss, AFP)

A plane drops water in an attempt to control wildfires burning through hillsides in California. (Dan Krauss, AFP)

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Morgan Hill - More California residents were ordered from their homes on Tuesday as a growing wildfire threatened remote communities in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The blaze in a rugged area about 30 miles south of San Jose destroyed one home and charred more than 3.8km²of dry brush and timber, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Hundreds of homes were evacuated after the fire broke out on Monday amid a heat wave, and more residents were ordered to leave as the flames spread overnight. Officials didn't say how many homes are affected.

The fire was just 5% contained.

Crews braced for another day of witheringly low humidity and temperatures in the 30°C. The blaze sparked on the southern edge of Santa Clara County also threatened television and radio towers.

Meanwhile, to the north in Sonoma County, crews gained control over a 5km² fire that briefly threatened homes and The Geysers geothermal complex, a massive power producing facility.

Evacuation and road closure orders were lifted on Monday evening after firefighters increased containment to 45%, Cal Fire spokesperson Scott McLean said.

"It's looking very good, but we still need to make sure smoke and small fires inside the perimeter are taken care of," he said.

A statewide heat wave that baked even coastal cities that normally benefit from the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean was expected to start easing on Tuesday.

The mercury shot up into triple digits in downtown Los Angeles and points north and south as high pressure gripped the drought-stricken state.

Read more on:    us  |  wildfires

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