ASome of the largest wildfires ever in the western U.S. state of California continued to rage Saturday, as Governor Gavin Newsom appealed for international assistance to help contain the blazes.
Newsom asked Canada and Australia for resources and support Friday as more than 12,000 firefighters from California and 10 other U.S. states battle 560 fires. Australia, Newsom said, is home to “the world's best wildfire fighters.”
Newsom said the fires have “disproportionally impacted” northern California, where tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes and hundreds of homes and other buildings have been destroyed.
"We simply haven't seen anything like this in many, many years," Newsom said. "These fires are stretching our resources, our personnel.”
The weekend weather in California is threatening to fuel the flames that have killed at least five people and injured 43 others, including firefighters, and burned through 2,020 square kilometers during an historic heat wave.
About 560 wildfires are raging throughout California, many of them small and remote. Most of the damage was inflicted by three groups of fires that torched forest and rural areas in the San Francisco Bay Area and nearby wine growing area.
Redwood trees that are thousands of years old are being threatened by the fires. Buildings in Big Basin Redwoods State Park have already been damaged.
The third fire has swept through parts of San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.
The fires, which have forced at least 100,000 people to be placed under evacuation orders, were sparked by lightning earlier in the week.
U.S. President Donald Trump has blamed California for the fires and seems bewildered that state officials have not followed his suggestion to prevent them. On Thursday, in Pennsylvania, Trump said he told California authorities, "You gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they're like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up.”