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World news | California firefighters continue to battle wind-driven wildfires east of San Francisco

Streaks of light seen in California. (Photo credits: video grabber)

Sacramento, June 3 (AP) California firefighters expect to gain ground Sunday on a wind-driven wildfire that scorched thousands of acres 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of San Francisco, burning down a home and forcing residents to flee the area near the Central California city . Tracy.

The fire broke out Saturday afternoon in the grassy hills managed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, one of the nation’s leading centers for nuclear science and technology. The cause was investigated.

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The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the research center was not immediately threatened by the blaze, dubbed the Corral Fire, which had consumed about 32 square miles (52 square kilometers) by Sunday afternoon and was 30 percent contained.

Thousands of people in the area, including parts of Tracy city with a population of 1,00,000, were ordered to evacuation centres. Tracy is located approximately 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of California’s capital, Sacramento.

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CalFire Battalion Chief Josh Silveira said Sunday afternoon that the fire burned “right up to the houses” in the area and destroyed one home. With calmer winds and milder weather Sunday, Silveira said he didn’t expect the fire to grow.

Two firefighters suffered mild to moderate burns Saturday and were expected to make a full recovery, Silveira said.

The wildfire posed no threat to laboratory facilities or operations and had been cleared from the site, Lawrence Livermore spokesman Paul Rhien said in a statement to AP early Sunday.

“As a precaution, we have activated our emergency operations center to monitor the situation throughout the weekend,” Rhien said.

Photos showed a wall of flames moving across the parched landscape as dark smoke billowed into the sky.

The wildfire also forced the closure of two major highways, including one connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to San Joaquin County in central California, but they reopened Sunday afternoon.

The San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services issued an evacuation order for areas west of the California Aqueduct, south of Corral Hollow Creek, west of Alameda County and south of Stanislaus County. A temporary evacuation point was set up at the Larch Clover Community Center in Tracy. The order was still in place early Sunday afternoon.

Sunday’s high temperature for Tracy was expected to reach 29 degrees Celsius, with no rain in the forecast, but warmer conditions are on the way.

The National Weather Service said “dangerously warm conditions” with highs of 39.4 degrees Celsius to 42.2 degrees Celsius were expected later in the week for the San Joaquin Valley, an area that includes Tracy. Wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour lashed the region Saturday night, according to weather service meteorologist Idamis Shoemaker in Sacramento. (AP)

(This is an unedited auto-generated story from the syndicated news feed. Staff may not have edited or edited the content recently)