Firefighters make progress ahead of hotter weather
Firefighters Monday tried to lock in gains they made in fighting California's worst wildfires, as hotter weather was expected to move in and make their task more difficult, dpa reported.
Over 300 fires were still raging across the state fought by some 20,000 firefighters, over 1,500 fire engines and over 100 water-dropping aircraft. The fires have burnt over 2,400 square kilometres since a freak lightning storm sparked over 1,400 blazes on June 20. Emergencies have been declared in 11 counties.
The worst fires were in central California where the Gap fire continued to threaten the town of Goleta north of Santa Barbara. That fire was 35 per cent contained Monday morning after burning some 3,650 hectares. The Basin Complex fire on the outskirts of the tourist area of Big Sur was proving more stubborn however, remaining only 5 per cent contained after burning some 29,000 hectares and destroying 22 houses.
In total the fires threaten about 10,500 homes and more than 400 commercial properties according to the state firefighting organization CAL FIRE. Forecasters are calling for a high-pressure system for northern and central California beginning Monday that will send temperatures soaring along with possible higher winds through the end of the week.