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California wildfires: Nearly 200,000 flee as new blaze spreads

Posted on 8th December 2017 at 14:36pm

Nearly 200,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes in California as firefighters battle several raging wildfires.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Diego on Thursday after a new blaze spread from 10 acres to 4,100 acres in just a few hours.

Three firefighters have been injured and about 500 buildings destroyed.

One death has been reported - a woman's body was found in a burned-out area in Ventura County.

But an official told the Ventura Country Star newspaper that the death, in the town of Ojai, may have been the result of a car crash not related to the fire.

About 5,700 firefighters have been battling the brushfires, officials said on Thursday, with firefighters drafted in from neighbouring states to help.

The Thomas fire in Ventura County to the north of Los Angeles remains the largest of the blazes and has spread as far as the Pacific coast.

It has consumed 180 square miles (466 sq km) since it broke out on Monday, and destroyed more than 430 buildings, fire officials said.

A BBC correspondent in Ojai says the blaze is burning in the hills all around and more than 100 fire engines have been seen driving through the town centre.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2017 BBC

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