Wildfire destroys 150 Californian homes
A wildfire in central California has burned 150 homes and the toll may rise, fire officials say.
‘The tally rose from 80 homes as firefighters began going through neighbourhoods to count houses and mobile homes incinerated by the blaze on Saturday.
Entire blocks were reduced to rubble, and at least 2500 homes remained threatened.
Weather conditions that drove the fire through small southern Sierra Nevada communities with terrifying speed remained a worry, with low humidity and 48 kilometres per hour steady winds forecast.
‘That’s something we have to keep an eye on. It could spark another disaster,’ Kern County fire Engineer Anthony Romero said.
About 1100 firefighters were battling the flames.
Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, freeing up money and resources to fight the fire and to clean up in the aftermath.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency also authorised the use of funds for firefighting efforts.
Since it began Thursday, the fire has swept through 14,568 hectares – of parched brush and timber. It moved so quickly that some residents barely had time to escape – and two didn’t.
An elderly couple apparently were overcome by smoke as they tried to flee, county Sheriff Donny Youngblood said. Their bodies were found Friday but their names haven’t been released.