Large wildfires in California have left thousands without homes. To date, at least 31 people have been killed and over 200 remain unaccounted for. Multiple evacuation orders are in place and many are relying on emergency shelters.
Local officials say that fires could spread quickly and unexpectedly, with winds of up to 70mph forecast over the next few days.
“The magnitude of destruction is unbelievable and heartbreaking,” says Mark Ghilarducci, of the California Office of Emergency Services. “Our hearts go out to everybody that has been affected.”
For more details about areas affected by the wildfires, see http://www.fire.ca.gov/general/firemaps
What to do if you’re in California
Wildfires can spread quickly, so be vigilant, monitor local news reports and follow instructions from authorities immediately; especially evacuation orders.
If there's smoke where you are, take precautions. Clear the air you breathe & wear an N95 mask. Fine particulates floating around in that smoke can cause serious health problems. See official advice here: http://www.oesnews.com/breathe-easy-with-an-n95-particulate-mask-during-smokey-days/.
Let family and friends know you are safe.
As the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises, exercise caution in areas recently affected by wildfires as they are more susceptible to mudslides during heavy rainfall.
Get in touch with your airline or tour operator to find out if your travel home has been disrupted.
Keep receipts for emergency accommodation or provisions, should you need to make an insurance claim.
For more information about wildfires and safety tips, see https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Wildfire/Wildfire-safety-tips