California fires double in size; Governor urges residents to flee

560 wildfires burning in central and northern California that killed at least six people has doubled its size on Friday, becoming one of the largest in the state’s history.

The blaze injured 43 firefighters and civilians.

The fires that swept through last week have blackened area larger than the size of  U.S. state of Rhode Island and destroyed more than 500 homes and other structures.

California governor called resources from Canada and Australia to fight the hundreds of fires that were sparked by lightning storms mostly.

The state has been hit by its worst dry-lightning storms in nearly two decades as close to 12,000 strikes here have sent flames racing through lands left parched by a recent heat wave. Some 175,000 people have been told to leave their homes.

Plumes of smoke and ash fouled air quality for hundreds of miles around fire zones, adding to the misery and health risks of residents forced to flee or those stuck inside sweltering homes that lacked air conditioning.

Medical experts warned that the coronavirus pandemic has considerably heightened the health hazards posed by smoky air and extreme heat, especially for older adults and those already suffering from respiratory illnesses.