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Northern Calif. wildfire forces thousands to flee on Labor Day weekend

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A fast-moving Northern California wildfire caused injuries, destroyed multiple homes Friday and forced as many as 7,500 residents to leave home, jamming roadways at the start of a sweltering Labor Day weekend.

Weed, Calif. councilwoman Sue Tavalero says the Mill Fire started on the property of Roseburg Forest Products, a lumber mill, and quickly burned through homes.

Roseburg spokeswoman Rebecca Taylor says the company evacuated its veneer plant after the fire was reported around 1 p.m. Friday. Evacuees described heavy smoke and chunks of ash raining down from massive flames near Weed, about 50 miles south of the Oregon border.

And in southern California, firefighter endured searing temperatures as they fought another fast-moving blaze near Los Angeles.

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Heat and smoke, or other air pollution, together are a particularly hazardous combination for humans. 

A scientist examined over 1.5 million deaths from 2014 to 2020 registered in California — a state prone to summer heat waves and air pollution from wildfires — to show how when an area is hit with a double whammy of both high heat and high air pollution, the effects are much worse than for each condition alone.

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