1. ITV Report

In pictures: Wildfires rage along Californian coast

Hundreds have been forced to flee their homes as wildfires rage near California coast north of Los Angeles.

Firefighters battle to protect a CalTrans Maintenance Station and Fuel Depot Credit: REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

It marks a fierce start to a fire season in California that weather forecasters predict will be worsened by a summer of high temperatures and drought throughout much of the US West.

Firefighters at the scene of a blaze. Credit: REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

The largest of the blazes erupted about 6:30 am, less than 10 miles inland from the Pacific coast, and quickly consumed 6,500 acres of dry, dense shrubland near the communities of Camarillo and Newbury Park, about 50 miles north of Los Angeles.

A trailer is engulfed in flames as a wildfire pushes towards the coast in Camarillo. Credit: REUTERS/Gene Blevins

More than 500 firefighters were dispatched to battle the blaze, along with six water-dropping helicopters.

Airplanes equipped to drop payloads of fire-retardant chemicals were grounded by high winds and thick smoke in the area, officials said.

A water-dropping helicopter makes a drop on a fast moving bush fire Credit: REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Several farm buildings and recreational vehicles were engulfed in flames as the fires spread.

Crates of pesticides and fertiliser at a strawberry farm are destroyed. Credit: REUTERS/Gene Blevins

Fire department spokesman Tom McHale told KTLA-TV that authorities were worried people could be exposed to toxic fumes that might be released from agricultural facilities.

Heavy smoke as flames engulf a farm Credit: Reuters