Los Angeles              -        Thousands of residents fled a city in northern California on Wednesday as a series of fast-moving wildfires spread across the state, burning dozens of homes and structures. The fire outside Vacaville -- a city of about 100,000 residents located between the state capital Sacramento and San Francisco -- is part of a series of blazes that have scorched nearly 50,000 acres (20,200 hectares) in the region in recent days.

“If you’re asked to evacuate, please do so SAFELY,” Vacaville police said on Twitter. “Practically every single first responder unit in town is actively working to safely notify, evacuate and fight the fires, so our residents are safe.” 

Some residents of Vacaville heeded the evacuation orders dressed only in their pajamas, as the flames surged across roadways and gas lines exploded at several residences. Multiple people suffered burns as they ran for their lives. Fire crews could be seen struggling to protect homes from the flames and rescuing animals, some of which did not survive. Fire officials said the blaze was zero percent contained early Wednesday and threatened some 1,900 structures in the area. One woman described fleeing the inferno with her husband, who suffered burns in his car and was forced to abandon the vehicle.

“I had all these flames on me and I lost my shoe but I made it,” she told the local NBC station. “God saved me.” The group of fires -- known collectively as the LNU Lightning Complex fires and taking place as the state faces a torrid heat wave -- has so far destroyed dozens of buildings or structures in several counties, including the famed wine regions of Napa and Sonoma.

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency to facilitate the release of emergency funds. “CA has experienced 10,849 lightning strikes in the last 72 hours and WORLD RECORD heat temperatures,” Newsom said in a tweet. “We’re currently battling 367 known fires. “Grateful for our firefighters, first responders, and everyone on the frontlines protecting Californians during this time.” He said fire departments in nearby states, including Nevada, Arizona and Texas, were sending reinforcements to help fight the wildfires.