Western Wildfires

California Wildfires: Storms, Lightning Could Start New Blazes


Firefighters battling two California wildfires that have burned or threatened hundreds of homes fear that possible thunderstorms and lighting could ignite fresh blazes, officials said. Emergency crews have been helped by slightly cooler weather in recent days but there is now an increased chance of storms that could bring erratic winds and lightning, fire forecasts said.

About 700 homes in the small town of Burney, in Shasta County, remained in the path of the Eiler Fire which was only 10 percent contained Monday night. Evacuations remained in force and the 3,000 residents were warned to be ready in case they have to flee. The Eiler and Bald Fires, sparked by lightning, began within a day of each other in Lassen National Forest and have destroyed more than 100 square miles of drought-stricken brush with unusual ferocity. "Trees were just exploding," said Dennis Hoffman who sought shelter at a local school. "It was like a big monster — just unbelievable, how bad it was."


- The Associated Press