‘Almost 200,000 people have been forced from their homes by wildfires rampaging through California as firefighters on Thursday raced to tackle another new blaze.
The number of evacuees almost quadrupled as a fifth fire broke out to the north of San Diego.
Fire crews are struggling to contain the blazes which are being fanned by the region’s Santa Ana winds, which could yet reach hurricane force.
The hot, dry winds blow in from the California desert, and the state CAL Fire agency warned that gusty condition and low humidity would exacerbate the danger throughout the weekend.
The blazes destroyed hundreds of home and forced many schools around Los Angeles to close.
lames skipped over highways and railroad tracks, and residents rushed to evacuate their homes with only minutes’ warning, some leaving behind holiday gifts. People feared for the safety of animals from cats to llamas amid reports that dozens of horses had been killed.
North of San Diego, the newest blaze called the Lilac Fire grew from 10 acres to 2,500 acres in just a few hours on Thursday, according to fire crews, prompting Jerry Brown, governor of California, to declare a state of emergency for San Diego County.’