A pair of wildfires burning without restraint about 8 miles apart in northeast California became the focus of state and federal firefighters Sunday as authorities reported that one of the blazes had destroyed eight homes and prompted the precautionary evacuation of a small long-term care hospital.
The two fires, among 14 burning in the state, started within a day of each other in Lassen National Forest and had expanded into private property and scorched 90 square miles as of Sunday morning, up from 39 square miles a day earlier. The two blazes were among 14 that federal, state and local fire crews were tackling on Sunday in central and Northern California, state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Dennis Mathisen said, adding that the coming week promises not to be any easier.
California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Saturday as more than a dozen wildfires destroyed homes, forced evacuations and damaged infrastructure. Dry lighting, high temperatures and severe drought conditions exacerbated fire danger that officials said they don't usually see until September. Brown's emergency proclamation said that the wildfires’ magnitude was beyond the control of any single local government and would require the combined forces of regions to combat.
— The Associated Press
First published August 2 2014, 3:19 PM