An immense wildfire in Northern California has left at least six people dead, including two fire fighters, and destroyed more than 500 buildings.

The fire, which first ignighted a week ago, was said to have been started with mechanical failure of a vehicle before burning completely out of control on Thursday, tearing through two small communities and reaching the city of Redding.

Tens of thousands of people fled Redding over the weekend, fearing for their lives. In the small community of Keswick, only a handful of homes remain.

The fires are also affecting the popular tourist destination of Yosemite National Park and the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs during what is usually peak holiday period.

Yosemite National Park officials said Friday that the park won’t reopen to everyone until the afternoon of August 3.

SOURCE: AP

A total of 38,000 people have been evacuated from Shasta County as a result of the fires and California’s Governor Jerry Brown has declared a State of Emergency in the area.

In a flash of hope, the latest news release from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said firefighters were starting to gain some ground on the blaze, as opposed to being strictly in a defensive posture.

Incident Commander Bret Gouvea said the fire was not moving as fast as it did earlier. He said he was optimistic and expected containment numbers to increase.

SOURCE: Bay Area News GRop

Wildfires are a common occurrence in California during the state’s long, hot, dry summers.

However, experts say this has been the worst start to the fire season in 10 years  partly due to the 2012 to 2017 drought that killed off large amounts of vegetation.

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