180,000 ordered to flee from homes as result of California wildfires

180,000 ordered to flee from homes as result of California wildfires

Some 180,000 people have been ordered to leave their homes as powerful winds threaten to spread a wildfire in northern California’s wine country.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said it is the largest evacuation that any member of the force can remember.

The evacuation order was significantly expanded overnight to portions of Santa Rosa, a city of 175,000 that was hit hard two years ago by a wildfire that destroyed thousands of homes and killed 22 people.

A hillside smoulders as firefighters light backfires to slow the spread of the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, California (Noah Berger/AP)
A hillside smoulders as firefighters light backfires to slow the spread of the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, California (Noah Berger/AP)

Fire officials said they are concerned the winds will blow embers and cause the fire to jump a major road and spread to population centres.

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