Scorching heatwaves across the Western U.S. have seen three major wildfires raging in California and Arizona, with hundreds of homes under threat.
The deadliest fire has been burning near Lake Tahoe. It has seen over 16,000 acres burn and killed 12 people in California’s South Lake Tahoe area.
Another major blaze, the largest in state history, is taking hold at Mount Lemmon outside Phoenix.
The largest of the three was the Thomas Fire, which prompted the evacuation of about 80,000 people from the Santa Barbara and Ventura County area. As of Thursday afternoon, the fire has grown to almost 236,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,700 structures.
While several thousand fire fighters are making the effort to contain the Thomas Fire, at least five deaths were reported there as a result of the blaze.
Another fire has been burning along the Los Angeles County border with the Malibu area. It was only 10 percent contained as of Thursday morning.
The nearby Creek Fire caused the evacuation of over 3000 people living in a densely-populated area that includes residential homes, a nursing home, camps and other structures.
Another fire near the San Bernardino area forced residents of an assisted living center and the Los Osos retirement community to leave the home, too.
Devastating photos of a deadly wildfire in California’s South Lake Tahoe area can be seen here.
Story by Todd Starnes. To read more from Todd, click here.