California wildfires prompt thousands to evacuate, state of emergency

SACRAMENTO -- Several major wildfires were burning out of control across California on Sunday, including one just outside of Sacramento where the governor has declared a state of emergency.

Evacuations were expanded in Butte County, above Sacramento, as the Wall Fire raced west. Flames were rapidly tearing their way through the Sierra Nevada foothills, in what some said looked like a tornado of smoke and fire.

The fire was 5,600 acres wide and 25 percent contained as of Sunday evening.

According to Cal Fire officials, 17 structures were destroyed and five more were damaged, leading Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency to provide assistance to local authorities. A total of 5,400 more structures were threatened as the fast and unpredictable blaze continued.

Over 4,000 residents were evacuated in the area.

The Wall Fire started just before 3 p.m. Friday at Chinese Wall Road, about 5 miles north of Bangor, according to Cal Fire officials.

Meantime, two major brush fires in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties continued to burn fiercely. The Whittier Fire near Lake Cachuma charred 7,800 acres and the Alamo Fire spread to 24,000 acres near San Luis Obispo.
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