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California seeks help as wildfires threaten communities

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on August 23, 2020 - Duration: 01:39s

California seeks help as wildfires threaten communities

Nearly two dozen massive wildfires continued to ravage parts of California on Saturday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) said.

Edward Baran reports.

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California seeks help as wildfires threaten communities

Nearly two dozen massive wildfires continue to ravage parts of California - burning nearly a million acres and threatening communities lying in the path of the flames.

The blazes are fueled by high temperatures and ongoing lightning strikes, including 100 that hit on Friday (Aug 21), according to California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The fires have killed six people and incinerated nearly 700 buildings since beginning after an earlier lightning storm last week.

Wildfire is threatening parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, the forested region near the University of California at Santa Cruz and a wide swathe of the area between San Francisco and the state capital of Sacramento.

Firefighters have improved containment of the southern edge of that fire, but winds are expected to push it northwest toward the wine country towns of Healdsburg and Guernville, a fire service spokesman said.

On Saturday (Aug 22), President Donald Trump declared the fires to be a major disaster, the White House said - allowing federal funds to be used to help people and businesses harmed by the fires in seven counties.

That declaration came despite an earlier threat from Trump to withhold aid from California.

Nearly 14,000 firefighters have been deployed to the blazes, but containment of the largest ones remains low and the state has requested additional support from other states and local jurisdictions in California.

Firefighters say the sheer volume of fires burning in the state have stretched resources.

Additional lightning storms are expected later this weekend, and the danger of new or growing wildfire is extreme.

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