Cooler weather on Monday helped firefighters in California make some progress against a raging wildfire that has already destroyed dozens of homes and forced thousands to evacuate.
The largest of dozens of wildfires burning across the state — the Rocky Fire — had scorched 60,000 acres near the community of Clearlake Oaks, which is about 100 miles north of San Francisco. Containment of the previously unchecked blaze, however, had increased to 12%, Cal Fire reported.
The fire, which started July 29, has so far destroyed 24 homes and 26 other structures.
With wildfires lighting up California, Gov. Jerry Brown last week declared a state of emergency, freeing up additional resources that typically aren't deployed so early in the fire season.
The fires have already turned deadly, killing one firefighter in far northern California this past weekend, and injuring four others.
For the Rocky Fire alone, more than 3,000 personnel have been brought in as four air tankers and 19 helicopters attack the blaze from above. At roughly 97 square miles, the fire is so large that it generates its own wind, driving flames out into wildlands left tinder dry by the state's prolonged drought.
The advancing fire lines have prompted evacuation orders and advisories for more than 13,000 residents, according to Cal Fire.
One of them, Layna Rivas of Clearlake Oaks, told the Associated Press she was anxious to return home after being evacuated over the weekend.
"You have to have that let go feeling and know everything is going to be OK," she said. "My place is going to be safe; my animals are going to be safe."
Triple-digit temperatures and bone-dry vegetation have proven to be an explosive mix in recent weeks, with little relief in sight.
From Jan. 1 to Aug. 1, Cal Fire recorded 4,201 wildfires across the state, with roughly 100,000 acres burned. During the same period last year, California had seen just 2,945 wildfires, with 87,676 acres burned.
In Humboldt County alone, firefighters are battling more than 70 smaller wildfires that were sparked by lightning. Those fires, which have so far burned nearly 3,000 acres, were just 20% contained as of Monday evening, Cal Fire reported.
Jason Wells is deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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