Authorities in California say lightning strikes have sparked more than
400 fires in the northern part of the state, consuming thousands of
hectares and forcing some residents to evacuate.
The office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says the fires stretch more than 500 kilometers from south of San Francisco to the border of the neighboring state of Oregon. The governor has ordered the California National Guard to assist in fighting the blazes.
Meanwhile, much of California is bracing for a fifth straight day of record high temperatures. Forecasters say temperatures reached above 32 degrees Celsius on Saturday in San Jose, Los Angeles and the state capital of Sacramento.
The heat wave has sent people scurrying to beaches and rivers to cool off, and strained regional power grids as millions of residents turn on air conditioners.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.