Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes and governor of California Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in the Lake and Napa counties, as wildfire has destroyed over 400 homes, along with cars, barns, buildings and pretty much anything in its path. One person has also died.
Years of drought and high temperatures, including a recent heat wave, has been blamed for what's being called the Valley Fire raging in the northern part of the state. The Valley Fire forced residents, around 1,500 people, to flee the town of Middletown, which lies north of the Napa Valley. The towns of Hidden Valley Lake and Cobb have also been badly damaged. The fire began on Saturday afternoon somewhere near Cobb, California, which is north of San Francisco and spread quickly with flames being reported as high as 200ft.
"The fires are spreading faster than I have seen in my 30 years," Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, told The Sacramento Bee. "The bushes, the trees have absolutely no moisture in them, and the humidities are so low that we are seeing these ‘fire starts’ just erupt into conflagrations."
The Valley Fire, which had covered around 50,000 acres on Sunday (a day after it started), is zero percent contained and is one of two fires currently burning out of control in California. The other fire, the Butte Fire, has covered 65,300 acres and started last Wednesday.
It has been 25% contained but, according to NBC "it was still burning more than 100 square miles near the tree-studded Sierra Nevada." Around 4,000 firefighters have been fighting it and so far it has destroyed 85 homes, 50 outbuildings, while over 6,000 further homes and businesses are under threat.
Here's some of the devastation the wildfires have wrought so far.