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Forest fires rage in California amid sweltering heat

A firefighter stands in front of a burning house near Orovill. Photograph: (AFP)

AFP Los Angeles, CA, United States Jul 09, 2017, 11.53 PM (IST)

Wildfires raged Sunday across much of California forcing hundreds to evacuate homes as the most populous US state sweltered in record heat.  

About 5,000 fire crew members were battling 14 large wildfires around the state, according to Cal Fire. Among the largest was the Alamo fire in San Luis Obispo county, about midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Fire there has burned 23,867 acres (96.59 square kilometers) and was just 10 per cent contained, officials said.

Meanwhile, the Wall Fire in Butte county in the north-central part of the state saw 4,400 acres (17.8 square kilometers) consumed by flames. 

The fire there is just 17 per cent contained and evacuations are in effect, Cal Fire said.

That blaze destroyed 10 structures and threatened hundreds more, according to Cal Fire. Four injuries have been reported.

The Whittier fire in Santa Barbara county in southern California was affecting 7,800 acres (31.56 square kilometers) and was just five per cent controlled. 

Most of southern California including metropolitan Los Angeles has been in the grips of a blistering heat wave, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees (37 degrees Celsius). 

California Governor Jerry Brown in April declared the official end of the state's drought that lasted more than five years.

But he kept in place water reporting requirements, as well as bans on practices like watering during or following rainfall and hosing off sidewalks.

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