Emergency declared as wildfires sweep through California

A state of emergency has been declared in northern California after wildfires forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

Governor Jerry Brown said the fires had destroyed buildings in the Napa and Lake counties and threatened hundreds of others.

More than 1,300 people fled Middletown, north of San Francisco, as their homes were consumed by the flames.

Four firefighters who were badly burned are receiving treatment in hospital, the BBC reported.

The fires across northern California are being blamed on high temperatures and years of drought.

One blaze, the Valley Fire, which started on Saturday in Lake County, is said to have burned 40,000 acres.

It was reported to have reached the centre of the small town of Middletown on Sunday. Its 1,500 residents had already been ordered to evacuate.

The fire spread quickly and witnesses saw flames reach up to 200ft in the air, according to local news reports.

Further east, in Amador and Calaveras counties, around 4,000 firefighters are battling the Butte Fire, which broke out on Wednesday.

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