Powerful winds fan flames as California's biggest wildfire spreads, Latest World News - The New Paper

Powerful winds fan flames as California's biggest wildfire spreads

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HEALDSBURG, UNITED STATES: Powerful winds fanned Calfornia's biggest wildfire on Sunday, threatening the city of Santa Rosa and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

The Kincade Fire, north of San Francisco, spread to 12,000ha and only 10 per cent of it has been contained, state fire authorities said.

An estimated 180,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders, including those in parts of Santa Rosa and a large swath of Sonoma County.

"This is the largest evacuation that any of us at the Sheriff's Office can remember. Take care of each other," the Sonoma County sheriff's office tweeted.

Gusts of 130kmh were fanning the Kincade blaze - which threatens tens of thousands of structures - causing it to burn with greater intensity in remote steep terrain north of San Francisco, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

A total of 77 structures, including 31 residential buildings, had been destroyed by the blaze as of Saturday, as more than 2,800 personnel were called to the scene, according to Mr Jonathan Cox, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

"Potentially historic fire weather conditions are possible" north of San Francisco, the NWS wrote in a tweet.

"This is definitely an event that we're calling historic and extreme," Mr David King, a meteorologist with the service, told the Los Angeles Times.

"What's making this event really substantial... is the time that these winds are going to remain." - AFP