Vastavam web: Hundreds of wildfires burning across Central and Northern California that have already killed six people more than doubled in size on Friday, becoming some of the largest in state history and threatening small towns in the path of the flames. The conflagrations, which broke out over the last week, have blackened an area larger than the U.S. state of Rhode Island and destroyed more than 500 homes and other structures. In addition to the fatalities, 43 firefighters and civilians have been hurt.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said crews were fighting 560 fires across the state, many of them sparked by lightning storms, straining resources to the breaking point as he seeks reinforcements from as far away as Canada and Australia. The state has been hit by its worst dry-lightning storms in nearly two decades as close to 12,000 strikes here have sent flames racing through lands left parched by a recent heat wave. Some 175,000 people have been told to leave their homes.