A man has died after being caught by a wildfire in Siskiyou County, California, on Friday 6 July 2018. The fire broke out on Thursday 5 July close to the border with Oregon, and by Saturday morning covered about ninety square kilometres, destroying about 40 homes and leading to about 750 people being evacuated. The fire is one of about ten currently burning in California, with a fire in Santa Barbara county that erupted in Friday night having already destroyed about 20 homes and led to about 2500 people being evacuated, despite only covering about 0.16 km².
Fire burning in Siskiyou County, California, on Friday 6 July 2018. California Highway Patrol.
The fires have a variety of causes and have been fuelled by dry winds blowing from the mountains in the northeast of the state, but are essentially due to a prolonged drought in the state, which has been experiencing dry conditions since 2011, the longest such drought in the state's recorded history. This drought has killed vegetation, including thousands of trees, across much of central California, providing dry tinder to fuel the fires, despite high rainfall that caused flooding in parts of the state in the winter of 2016-7. The draught has been made worse by the diversion of water to suit Human purposes, such as agriculture, industry and leisure, which has taken water away from other ecosystems, resulting in the build-up of dead, dry vegetation that has produced fuel for the fires.
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