Nearly 30,000 evacuated from California wildfires amid extreme heatwave
OROVILLE: (Web Desk) Tens of thousands of people in northern California have been ordered to evacuate as wildfires grow across the state amid extreme heatwave.

Around 28,000 people were told to leave their homes after the Thompson Fire broke out this week, according to reports citing the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire).

Dangerously hot, dry and windy weather is expected to continue, with the National Weather Service predicting temperatures could reach 118F (47C) in some areas early next week, as reported by BBC.

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The city of Oroville, near where the Thompson Fire started, cancelled its 4 July fireworks celebration, and officials warned residents not to use fireworks to avoid the risk of starting blazes.

“The last thing we need is somebody who’s purchased fireworks from a local fire stand going out and doing something stupid,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. “Don’t be an idiot, cause a fire and create more problems for us.”

Mr Honea said the area had seen four fires within the last couple weeks and cautioned that danger was far from over.

“This is a bad fire season," he added.

Fire season started recently in California and usually runs until October. The size and intensity of fires in the state have grown in recent years.

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The amount of burned areas in the summer in northern and central California increased five times from 1996 to 2021 compared to the 24 year period before, which scientists attributed to human-caused climate change.

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This week, the National Weather Service issued excessive heat and red flag warnings - indicating hot, dry and windy weather - across the state. The agency said “dangerous” temperatures posed a major to extreme risk of heat stress or illnesses.

According to CalFire, around two dozen fires that have burned more than 10 acres sparked across the state since the last week of June. The largest one, at nearly 14,000 acres, was in Fresno county.

No one has died, and 74 structures across the state have been destroyed or damaged.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Butte County to provide resources.

The Thompson Fire started in Oroville, about 70 miles north of the state capital Sacramento, on Tuesday. The city is around 20 miles from Paradise, which was devastated by the Camp Fire in 2018 that killed 85 people. Fires hit the region again in the years following.

As of Wednesday, 28,000 people had been ordered to evacuate the Oroville area, local CalFire spokesman Rick Carhart told the San Francisco Chronicle. The fire as of Thursday was around 3,500 acres and only 7% contained.

Brittanie Hardie, a Louisiana native and recent California transplant, told the San Francisco Chronicle she had not been at home when her girlfriend evacuated their flat, and she had nothing but the clothes she was wearing.

"I knew wildfires were bad in California, but I didn t know it was this bad," Hardie told the newspaper.

Oroville City Council member Shawn Webber posted a video on Facebook on Wednesday showing hillsides charred and smoking on both sides of a road in the area. He wrote that firefighters “have done an excellent job protecting us from even more destruction”.

California s state parks system said agencies responding to the fire “also have employees with families displaced by these evacuations who are tirelessly assisting the community of Lake Oroville”.