California Wildfire Efforts Could be Threatened by Lightning, Winds

California Wildfire Efforts Could be Threatened by Lightning, Winds
Firefighters on Tuesday watch the Rocky fire move up a ridge along Highway 120 in Lake County just outside Lower Lake, Calif. The Rocky Fire has already torched 65,000 acres and is still burning. Photo by Al Golub/UPI | License Photo

SACRAMENTO, Aug. 4 (UPI) — Thousands of firefighters in California are battling nearly two dozen wildfires across the state, the largest of which, the 65,000-acre Rocky fire, jumped a highway and busted through its containment line, fire officials said.

The Rocky fire, which is situated north of San Francisco and northwest of Sacramento in Lake, Colusa and Yolo counties, is about 12 percent contained, KCRA-TV in Sacramento reported. The massive blaze has destroyed 24 homes and 26 outbuildings since it started Wednesday, and it threatens another 7,000 structures, Cal Fire officials said.

Officials ordered the evacuations of some 13,000 people in the region after the fire jumped Highway 20 on Monday. Portions of the highway, along with Highway 16 were closed.

Fire officials were worried they may have more difficulties ahead fighting the Rocky and 21 other fires across the state as scattered thunderstorms were expected to enter the northern portions of the state Tuesday night.

Brooke Bingaman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento,told the Los Angeles Times storms could bring lightning and strong winds, which could spark or fan flames. Cal Fire said lightning was to blame for a number of fires last week.

As of Tuesday, the 10 biggest active wildfires in California had consumed more than 120,000 acres.

The Frog fire in northern California has consumed 4,745 and killed a South Dakota firefighter Thursday. KRCR-TV in Redding, Calif., reported the Frog fire is 50 percent contained with about 491 firefighters responding.


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