More than 1,000 homes torched in California wildfires

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A massive wildfire in northern California has torched more than 1,000 homes in and around the city of Redding, authorities said on Wednesday.

Some evacuees were allowed to return home while new blazes exploded in what has become an endless summer of flame in the Golden State.

“Whatever resources are needed, we’re putting them there,” Governor Jerry Brown said at a news conferenvcce. “We’re being surprised. Every year is teaching the fire authorities new lessons. We’re in uncharted territory.”

Just a month into the budget year, the state has already spent more than a quarter of its annual fire budget – at least 125 million dollars (£95 million) – California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) spokesman Mike Mohler said.

A firefighter runs while trying to save a home
A firefighter runs while trying to save a home (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

The 121,000-acre Redding-area blaze, which started on July 23, forced 38,000 people from their homes and killed six. It has scorched 189 square miles and is 35% contained.

At least three new fires erupted on Wednesday in the Sierra Nevada region, including a blaze in Placer County.

North of San Francisco, a fire threatened homes in an old ranching and farming area near Covelo. About 60 homes were evacuated as the blaze erupted late on Tuesday and winds whipped flames through brush, grass, oak, pine and fir near the Mendocino National Forest, officials said.

A fire crew keeps an eye on an advancing wildfire
A fire crew keeps an eye on an advancing wildfire (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

“It just goes on and on,” he said.

“We had this rain at the beginning of the year and all that did was promote the growing of grass and brush. It’s a Catch-22. It’s growing more product to catch on fire.”

The new fire near Covelo was only about 40 miles north of where twin fires in Mendocino and Lake counties have burned an area three times the size of San Francisco, destroyed 14 homes and threatened 12,000 more.

California Wildfires
An air tanker drops retardant on the River Fire burning near Lakeport, California (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

In Shasta County’s so-called Carr Fire, authorities said all those reported missing had been located. A relative identified the latest known fatal victim as Daniel Bush, 62.

National Park Service officials said on Tuesday that the scenic Yosemite Valley and other areas would be closed at least until Sunday due to heavy smoke from the so-called Ferguson Fire. The closure began on July 25.

It is the longest closure at Yosemite since 1997, when floods closed the park for more than two months.

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