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California declares drought emergency

Published on Jan 18, 2014 6:19 AM

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency on Friday due to what could be the state's worst drought in a century, which has sparked wildfires and hurt farmers.

The declaration allows authorities to access federal help to battle the dry spell that has left huge swaths of tinder-dry forest vulnerable to going up in flames.

On Thursday, a massive blaze raged just outside Los Angeles, damaging several homes and forcing residents to evacuate the area, where the fire risk had been elevated for weeks.

Mr Brown urged state residents to reduce their water use by at least 20 per cent.

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