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Deadly winter wildfires 'are the new normal', California's governor says

California's governor has warned that deadly and destructive wildfires in winter are "the new normal".

Jerry Brown toured Ventura County neighbourhoods ravaged by a week-long wildfire that killed at least one person and destroyed hundreds of homes and other buildings.

At a news conference, Mr Brown 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 is 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.

Authorities said they have counted some 800 homes and other buildings destroyed by the wildfires ravaging southern California.

Six fires driven by gusty Santa Ana winds have torched neighborhoods and rural communities from Ventura County north of Los Angeles, all the way south to San Diego County.

One person died in a car crash on Wednesday trying to escape the largest fire in Ventura County.

The fire is also burning towards a sanctuary for the endangered California condors in Los Padres National Forest.

AP

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