Published: Tue, September 05, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

State of emergency for California wildfire

State of emergency for California wildfire

More than 400 miles (644 km) to the north, the so-called Ponderosa Fire has burned 3,880 acres, or about 1,570 hectares, and destroyed 32 homes in Butte County since it broke out on Tuesday.

An evacuation center at the Church of Nazarene in Oroville had 15 evacuees Wednesday morning, with the capacity to provide 100 beds if needed, said Lori Nichols, a volunteer with the American Red Cross from Elk Grove.

Also burning to our north is the Tohakum 2 Fire in Nevada, which began with a lightning strike near the site of Burning Man, which briefly closed the main artery into the festival on Sunday. The fire is burning in extraordinarily steep, rugged country with amazingly thick brush and big trees.

Cal Fire reported that as of Wednesday afternoon, 1,176 people, 107 fire engines, 19 water tenders, 10 helicopters, nine air tankers, 10 bulldozers and 23 hand crews were working the fire.

Seven ranches and a geothermal plant remain threatened.

The 10,600 square miles (27,500 square kilometers) that have burned at this point rank the 2017 wildfire season as the third worst in the last decade.

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- Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Friday for Butte County amid a wildfire that has destroyed 20 homes, scorched almost 6 square miles and forced residents to evacuate. "We are confident the unsurpassed firefighting ability of the Global SuperTanker will be a tremendous asset for CAL FIRE and its team on the ground as they suppress the Ponderosa Fire".

CAL FIRE law enforcement arrested John Ballenger, 29, of Oroville, on suspicion of causing the Ponderosa Fire. It's threatening 500 homes.

Several agencies, including the Red Cross, Butte County Sheriff's Office, Butte County Fire Department, Cal OES and the U.S. Forest Service are working together to contain the fire and help those affected.

Fires also burned near Yosemite National Park, evacuating nearby towns and keeping a popular road into the park shut down.

Firefighters say they're on guard as a heatwave blankets much of California.

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