15 August 2016
About 4,000 people have fled a fast-burning wildfire in Northern California that threatened two small lakeside towns, authorities said on Monday.
Dubbed the Clayton fire, the blaze swept through the town of Lower Lake, about 160 km north of San Francisco, damaging and destroying more than 175 buildings, according to the state fire information service Cal Fire.
The fire forced the evacuation of about 4,000 people in Lower Lake and nearby Clearlake.
The towns in California’s Lake County border a large lake as well as a wildlife sanctuary.
More than 1,000 firefighters were battling the wildfire, which began on Saturday and quickly scorched more than 1,214 hectares.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
California is in the fifth year of a withering drought that has turned forests and fields into dangerous, tinder-dry fuel for seasonal wildfires.
As of Aug. 13, nearly 3,900 wildfires had burned more than 45,300 hectares of land in California, an increase of almost 50 per cent over a five-year average.