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5 dead, thousands evacuated as several groups of wildfires burn in California

5 dead, thousands evacuated as several groups of wildfires burn in California
Posted at 7:20 AM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 13:11:27-04

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Wildfires that have claimed at least five lives and forced tens of thousands of people from their homes continue to blaze around California.

Three major collections of fires are threatening tens of thousands of homes in the San Francisco Bay Area and central California.

According to CNN, Vacaville — a city located between Sacramento and the Bay Area — is among the cities hardest hit by the wildfires.

More evacuations are expected as hot and gusty weather continues into Friday.

Daniel Berlant, the assistant deputy director of Cal Fire, says that the 22 major wildfires that are currently burning have burned more than 600,000 acres of forest.

Officials believe that most of the wildfires were started by lightning and have been exacerbated by a historic heatwave and dry conditions.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the fatalities included a Pacific Gas & Electric utility worker who was found dead Wednesday in a vehicle in the Vacaville area. Also, in central California, a pilot on a water-dropping mission in western Fresno County died Wednesday morning when his helicopter crashed. At least two other people were missing and more than 30 civilians and firefighters have been injured, authorities said.

CNN reports that wildfires have caused more death and destruction so far in 2020 than in all of 2019 combined.