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Labor Day weekend fires kill 4 in US state of California

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CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - Firefighters from Cleveland National Forrest intervene in Washburn Fire burning in Yosemite National Park forced the closure of the South Gate entrance Yosemite South Gate, CA, United States on July 11, 2022. (Neal Waters - Anadolu Agency)
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Sep 07, 2022 - 06:28 AM

HOUSTON, Texas (AA) – The death toll is at four Tuesday from Labor Day wildfires across the US state of California as dozens of fires have forced thousands of residents to evacuate.

More than 4,000 firefighters are battling 14 large fires statewide, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which said 45 new fires erupted on Sunday alone.

Officials said the Fairview Fire in southern California broke out Monday and killed two people near Hemet, about 80 miles (128 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles.

“Those individuals were attempting to flee the area and were overcome by the fire,” Cal Fire incident commander Josh Janssen told the USA Today newspaper. “It is unknown whether the victims are related or from the same household.”

Evacuation orders were issued for more than 1,500 homes as the fires have damaged or destroyed several structures in the area.

“This fire burned differently than it normally would on a given day,” said Janssen. “It burned the complete opposite direction of what it should do.”

In Northern California, two residents died in the Mill Fire, which started at a lumber mill and burned through the town of Weed, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) south of the Oregon border.

“We can confirm two fatalities related to the #MillFire,” tweeted the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department. “The two deceased individuals are adult females, ages 66 and 73.”

The Mill Fire, which measured more than six square miles and was 55% contained as of early Tuesday, is burning adjacent to the Mountain Fire, which has grown to more than 18 square miles and was just 20% contained Tuesday.

Evacuation orders have been issued across California, as the nearly 50 wildfires continue to burn statewide.

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