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At least 6 dead from massive California wildfire, community turns to volunteer firefighters

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LordRunar/iStockBy HALEY YAMADA, ABC News

The Northern California wildfires have taken a deadly turn.

Authorities say at least six people have been killed and two more are missing in the massive wildfires that are raging across Northern California.

More than two dozen major fires are scorching across the state of California after an unprecedented storm dropped nearly 11,000 lightning strikes over 72 hours earlier this week.

In just three days, the flames have spread rapidly, scorching over 560,000 acres and forcing tens of thousands of residents to evacuate. At least 175 homes have been destroyed by the flames.

More than 10,000 firefighters are on the frontlines, but fire officials say their resources are waning as some firefighters work overtime.

With a statewide lack of firefighters available to put out the growing inferno, private citizens have taken matters into their own hands. In Napa County, residents formed a renegade fire brigade who used their own hoses and chainsaws to help save a neighbor’s home.

“This is a community. This isn’t the first fire, so yes of course, I know that everybody pitches in and it doesn’t matter whether it’s your property or not,” Flynn McDonald, a Napa County resident, told ABC News.

Officials are warning against residents forming their own fire brigades, saying that it could endanger people’s lives.

For residents still stuck in the aftermath of the fire zone, however, conditions are exacerbated by power outages, a grueling heat wave and poor air quality from the smoke.

California Gov. Gavin Newson appeared at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night to address the state’s devastating wildfires.

“The hots are getting hotter. The dries are getting drier. Climate change is real,” said Newsom, who video called from a cell phone about a mile away from one of the blazes. “If you are in denial about climate change, come to California.”

ABC News’ Clayton Sandell and Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.

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