Southern California wildfire spreads as blazes hit parched states

By REUTERS
June 18, 2016 18:25

 
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A wildfire fed by parched land and high winds spread in Southern California on Saturday, prompting hundreds of people to evacuate their homes as the blaze formed destructive columns of flames known as "fire tornadoes."

The so-called Sherpa Fire in Santa Barbara County, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles, had burned through about 7,100 acres (2,870 hectares) by early Saturday and firefighters had contained about a quarter of the blaze, Santa Barbara County said on its Twitter feed.

More than 1,200 firefighters have been dispatched to battle the flames being fueled by dry chaparral and grass in coastal canyons about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of the affluent city of Santa Barbara.

"Now is the time to gather your family members, pets and important documents in case you need to leave quickly," the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office warned people living in areas threatened by the fire.

So far no serious injuries or damage have been reported.

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