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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 dozens of people trapped after a wildfire set 36,000 acres alight and cut off a popular reservoir in California.

More than 150 campers were rescued from the site, media say. At least a dozen were hurt, some with serious 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.

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

A tweet from the Fresno County Fire Protection District just before midnight local time (0700 BST) said 63 people had been rescued by military helicopter and taken to Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

It read: “Aircraft are returning to continue rescue operations, Unknown how many more.”

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

Emergency services officials later told a local ABC affiliate that 163 people had been rescued, with 20 taken to hospital.

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.

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

The latest rescue comes as some areas of California are experiencing a record heatwave.

Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday declared a state of emergency amid warnings that power cuts could be implemented on a rotating basis to meet excessive demand.

Temperatures of up to 49C (125F) are expected to last through the Labor Day holiday weekend.

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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