California wildfires leave at least 5 dead and force over 60,000 from their homes

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Updated Aug 21, 2020 7:08 PM EDT

An outbreak of hundreds of wildfires has killed at least five people in California and forced more than 60,000 from their homes. Nearly 12,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, which have already scorched an area nearly three times the size of Los Angeles.  

Two of the fires have grown to more than 200,000 acres — making them two of the top ten largest fires the state has ever seen. 

Governor Gavin Newsom said resources are stretched thin. “We’ve been on the phone with governors, trying to reach out as far as the East Coast to see if we can get resources here into the state,” Newsom said. 

More than 12,000 lightning strikes have been sparking the new fires. They’re igniting in places that haven’t burned in more than a century, and are even threatening the ancient redwoods. 

Meanwhile, more than 60,000 people can’t return home. As a massive wall of flames approached Bill Jannisse’s home, there were no firefighters in sight. 

He tried to cut his own firebreak — a gap in vegetation designed to slow a fire’s spread — but it wasn’t enough. When the flames reached his woodshop, he scrambled to save his motorcycle parked inside — but then, he was trapped. 

“It fell on my leg, I couldn’t get it off me,” he said, crying. “I remember screaming but knowing no one was here.”

“What were you thinking?” asked CBS News. 

“I don’t want to go this way,” he said. “I’m not ready to go.” 

He escaped and saved his home. But his livelihood is gone. 

The weather is cooling slightly — but firefighters remain concerned, as even more lightning is suspected. 

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