A wildfire that burned 78 square miles in Northern California killed at least one person and damaged over 400 homes and businesses, authorities said Sunday, according to the Associated Press. The fire prompted thousands to flee their homes as firefighters were unable to contain the blaze over the weekend.
The Valley Fire began Saturday at 1:24 p.m. PDT (4:24 p.m. EDT) in Lake County, northwest of Sacramento, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire. Schools in Lake County would be reportedly shut Monday. In northern San Francisco, more than 100 homes were destroyed.
According to Cal Fire, 1,000 firefighters were battling the fire on Sunday. Cal Fire reportedly said that at least 5,000 people were without power and several residents in Middletown in Lake County complained of not getting running water.
Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, said the dry conditions in the state resulting from the four-year drought caused the fire to spread rapidly. Ghilarducci reportedly said Sunday that fire and emergency services operations were "stretched" and California has requested help from the states of Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Colorado and Washington. He added that Nevada has sent fire crews and aircraft.
On Sunday, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Lake and Napa counties after the Valley Fire in the region exploded in size to more than 50,000 acres overnight. Communities and infrastructure there have been devastated while thousands have been forced to flee.