A raging wildfire in northern California has killed two firefighters and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.
The fires in Shasta county are being sucked up by strong winds to form “fire tornados” that are uprooting trees and overturning cars, fire officials say.
The blazes, known as the Carr fire, have destroyed at least 500 structures and are threatening thousands of homes.
Firefighters are battling the blaze, which is only 5% contained so far.
The wildfire began on Monday and has scorched over 48,000 acres (194 sq km) of land – an area larger than the city of San Francisco.
“We are seeing fire whirls – literally what can be described as a tornado,” California department of forestry and fire protection (CalFire) chief Ken Pimlott told reporters.
“This fire was whipped up into a whirlwind of activity” by gale-force winds, he said, “uprooting trees, moving vehicles, moving parts of roadways.”
“These are extreme conditions… we need to take heed and evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”
Two firefighters – fire inspector Jeremy Stoke, and a bulldozer operator who has not yet been named, died trying contain the blaze.
Three people – a great-grandmother and her two great-grandchildren, are currently missing, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Source : BBC