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Creek Fire: Helicopters rescue dozens of trapped California campers


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Media captionThe blaze, dubbed the Creek Fire, has swept across thousands of acres in the Sierra National Forest

Helicopters have rescued more than 200 people trapped after a wildfire set 45,000 acres alight and cut off a popular reservoir in California, officials say.

About 20 of the people were hurt, some with burns.

The Creek Fire began on Friday in the Sierra National Forest, cutting off the Mammoth Pool Reservoir, 40 miles (60km) north-east of Fresno.

The temperature has hit 47C (117F), part of a record heatwave in the state.

On Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in five Californian counties – Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, San Bernardino and San Diego – because of the wildfires.

The fast-moving Creek Fire started at about 18:45 on Friday (01:45 GMT on Saturday) in the forest, an area of steep and rugged terrain.

National forest spokesman Dan Tune said he did not know how close the fire was to the campsite, a popular boating and fishing destination.

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California National Guard via Reuters

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Picture taken inside a California National Guard helicopters during the evacuation

Two people refused to be rescued and stayed behind at the site.

The Fresno Convention Centre is being used to host the rescued people.

Mandatory evacuation orders are in now place for a number of areas in Madera County.

According to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 0% of the fire is contained.

California has seen nearly 1,000 wildfires since 15 August, often started by lightning strikes.

On Sunday, Los Angeles County recorded 49.4C (125F), a record temperature for the region.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said there could be “rare, dangerous and very possibly fatal” temperatures across parts of southern California.

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Media captionOver 1,000 animals were rescued from deadly wildfires in northern California last month

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