July 7, 2008

Increasing Heat Heightens Concern in State Fire Battle

By Niesha Lofing, The Sacramento Bee, Calif.

Jul. 7--Hundreds of fires continue to burn throughout the state today, scorching acreage and threatening homes and businesses.

Firefighters are battling 330 active fires in California. More than 1,400 fires have been contained, California Department of Forestry and Fire officials stated in a fire overview released late Monday morning.

Fire officials say they are concerned about a high-pressure weather system that moved into the state could result in unusually high temperatures, low humidity and minimal cooling during the evening. Thunderstorms also might increase in Southern California on Wednesday, spreading north and west Thursday and Friday, the release states.

The fires have burned 601,677 acres statewide and have destroyed 40 homes, one commercial building and 59 outbuildings, the release states.

(NU)The fires currently are threatening more than 10,000 homes, 395 commercial buildings and 1,827 outbuildings.

According to online Cal Fire and U.S. Forest Service fire information updated this morning, some fires still burning include:

--Butte Lightning Complex -- 27,600 acres burned, 55 percent contained.

--Shasta and Trinity Lightning fires -- 53,600 acres burned, 65 percent contained.

--Corral fire (Lassen, Modoc counties) -- 12,500 acres burned, 85 percent contained.

--American River Complex (Tahoe National Forest) -- 7,652 acres burned, 25 percent contained.

--Basin Complex (Los Padres National Forest) -- 71,285 acres burned, 5 percent contained.

--Gap fire (Los Padres National Forest) -- 8,694 acres burned, 28 percent contained.

--Lime Complex (Shasta and Trinity National Forest) -- 43,162 acres burned, 68 percent contained.

Evacuations remain in effect for areas of Monterey, Santa Barbara and Shasta counties. Precautionary evacuations also are still in effect in areas of Butte, Kern, Mendocino, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Plumas counties. Officials ask that residents monitor their local fire situation and check with local law enforcement for evacuation information.

Some state highways also remain closed because of the fires. Highway 1 is closed in the Big Sur area. Portions of Highways 32 and 70 also are closed, the release states.

People are asked to check with local law enforcement about road closure information.

Road closures also are listed at times on the California Highway Patrol's online traffic reporting system. For information, go to http://cad.chp.ca.gov/


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