Science

Fast-moving fire scorches northern California

A rapidly spreading, late-season wildfire in northern California has burned 20,000 acres of land and prompted authorities to issue evacuation orders for thousands of people.

(AFP)

A rapidly spreading, late-season wildfire in northern California has burned 20,000 acres of land and prompted authorities to issue evacuation orders for thousands of people.

The so-called Camp Fire, which started Thursday, has torched dozens of homes and put some 15,000 structures under threat as a state of emergency was declared in Butte County.

Fanned by strong winds, the fire broke out around dawn and spread quickly, leaving the town of Paradise, population 26,000, choking on floating ash and thick smoke. There, in a matter of hours, the flames destroyed dozens of homes, a hospital and a gas station.

"This fire is very dangerous, please evacuate if asked to do so!" the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, tweeted.

Another wildfire was burning in southern California, just miles from the scene of a mass shooting Wednesday night that left 12 people dead at a bar and dance hall in the town of Thousand Oaks.

Some of the first responders that rushed to the scene of the second mass shooting in less than two weeks in the US were also helping out with fire-related duties.

This second fire has scored some 10,000 acres of land, the state agency said.