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Hundreds evacuated as California wildfire spreads

Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate their homes in northern California as firefighters continue to battle a wind whipped wildfire.

A firefighter battles the flames in east California. Credit: REUTERS/Max Whittaker

At least 10 homes have been destroyed by the blaze known as "Sand Fire" near the Yosemite National Park, which fire officials said had grown significantly overnight. Authorities have evacuated nearly 500 more properties as a precaution.

Firefighters protect an evacuated home near the fast moving wildfire. Credit: REUTERS/Max Whittaker

Lynne Tolmachoff, a spokeswoman the California Department of Forestry said the fire which has scorched about 3,800 acres since Friday, could grow again on Sunday as firefighters brace for high winds and triple-digit heat.

A helicopter drops water on the fast-moving wildfire called "Sand Fire." Credit: REUTERS/Max Whittaker

Farmhouse blaze in Hampshire blamed on rodents

Rats were named as the most likely cause for a fire that engulfed a family home in Hampshire on Sunday.

Four adults and four children managed to escape from the historic property in Cheriton, after rodents chewed through electrical cables and set the house on fire.

The fire was most likely to have been caused by rodents gnawing through cables. Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue

A fire spokesman said: "They found the origin of the fire was most likely to have been electrical cabling in the roof, which had seen its PVC insulation chewed off by rodents."

Nobody was hurt in the incident.

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At least eight injured in large Boston blaze

The Boston Fire Department has been tweeting updates as they respond to a four-story fire in Back Bay, downtown Boston.

A Boston Emergency Medical Services spokesman told the Boston Globe that eight people had been taken to hospital.

Firefighters tackle a blaze in downtown Boston. Credit: Twitter/BostonFire

The fire department later confirmed that the fire started in the basement and went upwards through the building.

Firefighters extend ladders up to the second floor where the fire raged. Credit: Instagram/johannayoung13
Firefighters take away someone who was injured in the blaze. Credit: Twitter/BostonFire

London boat blaze injuries 'could have been worse'

The nature of the injuries from a fire that broke out on a London Duck Tours boat "could have been a lot worse", according to a police source.

Scotland Yard said police were called to the vessel just before midday.

A number of people were reported to be in the water at the time. Several Metropolitan Police units attended including the Marine Policing Unit and the police helicopter.

A number of people were recovered from the water. All 28 passengers and two crew members have been accounted for. The emergency services are in attendance at the scene.

– Scotland Yard spokesman

30 rescued after fire breaks out on Thames tour boat

Around 30 passengers have been rescued after a fire broke out on a tour boat on the River Thames shortly before midday.

Passengers were hauled to safety onto passing tour barges as flames ripped through the vessel on a stretch of water close to Lambeth Bridge in central London.

London Fire Brigade said a third of the boat was damaged by the blaze but everyone on board had been accounted for.

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Firefighters tackling 'twice as many grass fires'

Firefighters in London have dealt with twice as many grass fires compared with last year as the heatwave across the UK continues.

Firefighters attending the scene of a fire in London. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

There have been 1,010 incidents so far this summer compared with 535 from May 1 to July 15 last year and more are feared, the London Fire Brigade said.

Dave Brown, London Fire Brigade's head of operations, said: "A small spark from a cigarette is often all it takes to start a grass fire in these dry conditions. It really is important that smokers dispose of their cigarettes properly.

"Drivers also need to take care not to throw cigarettes out of car windows as they can easily burn grass verges.

"If you see a grass fire, don't attempt to put it out yourself as grass fires can be fast-moving and change direction without warning. Call the fire brigade and let us know where the fire is."

60 Firefighters tackle city centre shop blaze

More than 60 firefighters are tackling a blaze at a city centre shop with 12 crews fighting a fire which broke out in Oldham Street, Manchester, at 2.50pm.

Firefighters used a raised platform to douse the flames. Credit: @manchesterfire

Area manager Warren Pickstone said: "Crews are doing their best to fight the fire. They've faced difficult conditions because the fire started in the storeroom of a shop so there's a lot of material burning in there.

"They're working to stop the fire from spreading to other buildings and we're working with GMP (Greater Manchester Police), NWAS (North West Ambulance Service) and other partners to take care of the community and limit the disruption.

"Unfortunately two members of staff were taken to hospital - one with burns, who had tried to fight the fire, and another was suffering from smoke inhalation."

Firefighters battle the blaze. Credit: @manchesterfire
Two staff were taken to hospital Credit: @manchesterfire

Downing Street plays down Chinese lantern 'ban'

Calls by the Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron for a ban on Chinese lanterns have been played down by Downing Street, in the wake of the Smethwick fire.

"The actual number of fires caused by Chinese lanterns is very small," a No 10 spokesman said.

"It is important that we always ensure that there is a proportionate response to any event and we always look at safety matters and make sure they are kept at the top of our concerns."

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