SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown is declaring a state of emergency throughout California as wildfires rage in the parched state.

Brown says in a declaration issued Friday that the severe drought and extreme weather “have turned much of the state into a tinderbox.”

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Brown’s order requires all state agencies to provide assistance if needed to respond to the fires and mobilizes the California National Guard to help with disaster response.

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Eighteen large fires are burning across 15 counties, mostly in the northern half of the state.

A handful of homes have been consumed by the flames and hundreds of people chased from their houses. Thousands of firefighters are fighting the blazes.

The governor already requested federal assistance for two of the largest fires.

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