Massive California Fire Swells to 54,000 Acres - NBC Connecticut
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Massive California Fire Swells to 54,000 Acres



    Gov. Jerry Brown Declares State of Emergency in California

    Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Friday in response to severe wildfires burning across the state. Marianne Favro reports. (Published Monday, Aug. 3, 2015)

    Northern California's Rocky Fire jumped 20,000 acres overnight, charring 54,000 acres as of Sunday night, Cal Fire said.

    The blaze, located southeast of Clearlake in Lake, Yolo and Colusa Counties, is only 5 percent contained. According to Cal Fire, the Rocky Fire, which continues to grow, has gutted 24 homes and 26 outbuildings, and forced hundreds to evacuate the area.

    The fast-moving blaze scorched 71 square miles by Sunday and threatened 5,000 homes, according to the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection.

    This update came under 12 hours after Cal Fire said that the fire was about 27,000 acres late Saturday.

    Blazes raging in forests and woodlands across California have taken the life of a firefighter, burned two dozen homes and forced thousands of people to flee as crews continue to battle the flames from the air and the ground.

    Some 8,000 firefighters are working to subdue 21 large fires – many sparked by lightning strikes – but that’s been made incredibly difficult by several years of drought that have dried out the state.

    "The conditions and fire behavior we're seeing at 10 in the morning is typically what we'd see in late afternoon in late August and September," said Nick Schuler, a division chief with Cal Fire. "But because of the dry conditions, because of the drought-stricken vegetation accompanied by the steep terrain and winds, we're seeing fire activity that's abnormal for this time of year." 

    Smoke billows in Lake County as the massive Rocky Fire chars 46,000 acres, Cal Fire said Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015.
    Photo credit: NBC Bay Area
    Some 8,000 firefighters are battling wildfires in Northern California as of Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015.
    Photo credit: NBC Bay Area