Thousands flee wildfires in California as blazes continue across US and Canada

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Nearly 8,000 people have been forced from their homes in California, while fires have caused destruction in Arizona, Oregon, Nevada and British Columbia. About 4,000 people were evacuated and another 7,400 were told to prepare to leave their homes as fire swept through grassy foothills in the Sierra Nevada, about 60 miles north of Sacramento, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Sunday.

The fire has burned nearly four sq miles (11 sq km), injured four firefighters and destroyed at least 10 structures, but that number is expected to rise, fire spokeswoman Mary Ann Aldrich said.

The area burning was south-east of Oroville, where spillways in the nation’s tallest dam began crumbling from heavy rains this winter and led to temporary evacuation orders for 200,000 residents downstream.

“It leaves you feeling like you can’t catch a break,” said Sharon Reitan, who sought shelter at an evacuation center with her boyfriend Sunday night.

They were in Oroville on Friday afternoon when the fire broke out and roads to their hillside home were blocked. They later saw photographs of their home burned to the ground.

“The road that we live on was hit hard,” Reitan said. “We’re in shutdown mode right now, it’s so devastating.”

The fire was 20% contained Sunday and was one of 14 wildfires across California that about 5,000 firefighters battled.

 
 
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