Firefighters hurt as wildfires force thousands to flee

Four US firefighters were hospitalised after being injured fighting a fast- moving wildfire in northern California that expanded yesterday and has forced thousands to evacuate their homes, officials said.

The fire, nicknamed the Valley Fire, spread rapidly overnight and had burned about 40,000 acres (16,187 hectares) as of yesterday morning, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said on Twitter.

More than 1,000 fire personnel were battling the blaze, which erupted a day earlier in Lake County, north of San Francisco, Cal Fire said.

Additional evacuations were ordered early yesterday. Local media showed footage of several structures ablaze in Middletown, a small community of about 1,500 residents, one of several that were evacuated.

Four firefighters who had been dropped off by helicopter suffered second- degree burns as they built containment lines, said Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant. The firefighters were airlifted to UC Davis Medical Centre in Sacramento, Berlant later said on Twitter.

About 161km to the southeast another blaze, the so-called Butte Fire, has destroyed 86 homes and 51 outbuildings in rural Amador and Calaveras counties. The fire covers more than 65,000 acres officials said.



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