California's governor has said that deadly wildfires in the winter will be 'the new normal', as fire crews rushed to contain the fires, with dry desert winds expected to intensify over the weekend.
Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday toured Ventura County neighborhoods ravaged by a weeklong wildfire that killed at least one person and destroyed hundreds of homes and other buildings.
At a news conference, the Democrat said drought and climate change mean California faces a 'new reality' where lives and property are continually threatened by fire, at a cost of billions of dollars.
He added that gusty winds and low humidity are continuing and warned that there's a good chance of seeing 'firefighting at Christmas'.
He said it will take 'heroic' efforts in the US and abroad to stem climate change and urged US lawmakers to pay more attention to dealing with natural disasters such as fires, floods and earthquakes.
Over the past week, six major wildfires have forced more than 200,000 people to flee and choked the air across much of the region.
Forecasters predict wind gusts to become more intense by Saturday night, challenging the 8,700 firefighters who have been battling the fast-moving blazes for five days.