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Author Topic: California government brough in reinforcements as wildfires flare up again  (Read 155 times)

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Offline mastercode

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Crews battling 23 tenacious wildfires in drought-stricken California rushed in reinforcements Tuesday and girded for weather that could ignite more blazes.

More than 10 000 firefighters are now tackling blazes that have forced thousands to flee their homes and burned large swathes of land in the most populous US state.

The biggest conflagration, called the Rocky Fire, has drawn in 3 200 firefighters.

"Tinder dry conditions from the drought continue to allow wildfires to burn at an explosive rate," said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL FIRE.

The state is bringing in extra people from southern California to the hard hit north, making already deployed firefighters work overtime and cancelling days off, CAL FIRE spokesperson Daniel Berlant told MSNBC.

Resources from out of state, such as the Colorado state air reserve, are also being brought in, Berlant said.

Thunderstorms that can bring lightning, the source of many fires this summer, but virtually no water, were forecast.

And after a cooling of temperatures over the weekend, they are expected to rise again Wednesday, followed by more thunderstorms on Thursday, CAL FIRE said in a statement.

Many of the 23 fires are actually made up of dozens of smaller lightning fires, Berlant said.

"Right now definitely conditions are dry. We are continuing to see the effects of the drought as wildfires can more easily spark and then they're going to spread at these historically fast rates," he said.

The week-old Rocky Fire prompted evacuations as it swept through Colusa, Lake and Yolo counties north of Sacramento, the state's capital, in the north of the state.

More than 13 000 people have been forced to flee homes threatened by Rocky, CAL FIRE says.

Only 12% under control, Rocky has burned through more than 26 000ha , destroying 50 structures, about half of them homes.

Berlant said late Monday that the fire ripped through the forests at break-neck speed, with firefighters struggling to keep apace.

"Over the weekend, 8 000ha burned in just about a five-hour period. That's an unprecedented historical rate of spread," he said.

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