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California wildfires have killed 7, left over 1.25M acres burned

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LordRunar/iStockBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(LOS ANGELES) — Thousands of California firefighters Tuesday continued to brave harsh weather conditions in their attempt to fight over two dozen wildfires across the state.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, aka Cal Fire, said that 650 wildfires have now burned over 1.25 million acres in the state since Aug. 15.

“The significant acreage burned makes the fires collectively larger than the state of Delaware,” the agency said in a news release.

Cal Fire said there were 14,000 firefighters battling the blazes across California. As of Tuesday, the majority of the active fires were located in central and northern regions of the state, according to Cal Fire.

The fires are close to several major cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento, the agency said. The LNU Lightning Complex and the CSU Lightning Complex fires are now ranked No. 2 and No. 3 respectively on the list of all-time biggest wildfires in California, Cal Fire said.

So far, there have been seven fatalities related to the fires, and more than 1,400 structures have been destroyed, the department said. Among the parts of the state that have been affected are California’s forests.

Last week, many feared that the wildfire burning alongside Northern California’s coast would destroy many of the historic old-growth redwoods. Luckily, most of the ancient trees withstood the flames as the massive wildfire swept through the renowned Redwood Trail on Monday, the Associated Press reported. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California’s oldest state park and home to trees as old as 2,000 years. These are also among the tallest living things on Earth.

Cal Fire announced that evacuation orders for parts of some counties, such as Santa Clara and Napa, were reduced to warnings, but the agency warned residents there is still some danger, as firefighters are monitoring lighting strikes in the state.

“Isolated thunderstorms are still possible in the upper portion of Northern California and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range,” the department said. “A Red Flag Warning has been issued due to the possibility of lightning with little to no rain. The rest of California will experience a return to a warm and dry weather pattern.”

ABC News’ Haley Yamada contributed to this report.

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