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Rapid California wildfire forces thousands to flee

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Seen in a long exposure photograph, embers light up hillsides as the Dixie Fire burns near Milford in Lassen County, California, US, Aug. 17, 2021. (AP Photo)

Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate their homes in northern California after a wind-driven fast-paced wildfire spread rapidly, torching homes and and injuring some people.

The Mill Fire began on Friday nearly 230 miles (370 km) north of Sacramento and quickly spread across the neighborhood of Weed town, destroying 100 homes and buildings and causing power outages, the authorities said.

Weed along with Lake Shastina and Edgewood were placed under mandatory evacuation orders, school children were taken to a safe place and the livestock was sheltered.

Annie Peterson said she was sitting on the porch of her home near Roseburg Forest Products, which manufactures wood veneers, when “all of a sudden we heard a big boom and all that smoke was just rolling over toward us.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County that has a population of about 44,000 and is home to Klamath National Forest.

The blaze, which has been the third largest wildfire during the past days, has enveloped an area that was already struggling with drought and heat-waves.

The west US state has seen several destructive fires in the last five years, but this one leaves extreme drought behind itself and threatens a persistent drought lasting more than two decades.

"September is off to a searing start in the West with record breaking temperatures and fire weather expected to expand and settle over that part of the country this Labor Day weekend," wrote the National Weather Service in its daily bulletin.

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