ENVIRONMENT

California Gov. Declares State Of Emergency As Wildfires Grow

Thousands have been forced to evacuate.
An inmate from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation stands guard as flames from the Butte Fire approac
An inmate from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation stands guard as flames from the Butte Fire approach a containment line Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 near San Andreas, California.

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in parts of the state on Sunday as wildfires destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands to evacuate.

More than 100,000 acres have been scorched near Sacramento by both the rapidly growing Valley Fire, which began Saturday, and the Butte Fire.

 

This is the remains of a home destroyed by fire Sunday in Hidden Valley, California.
This is the remains of a home destroyed by fire Sunday in Hidden Valley, California.

At least 1,000 firefighters have been dispatched to the Valley Fire to fight the encroaching flames, four of whom were hospitalized on Saturday. Some 3,800 firefighters are battling the Butte Fire, which was only 20 percent contained as of Sunday.

Brown's declaration will help expedite recovery services and waive fees for residents to replace essential documents lost in the fire, CNN reported.

Early Monday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection confirmed one fatality in the wildfire in Middletown, which lies about 20 miles north of the famed Napa Valley. At least 400 homes, two apartment complexes and 10 businesses were also destroyed by the flames, department spokeswoman Lynn Valentine told The Associated Press.

 

Thousands of firefighters are battling wildfires in California, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of em
Thousands of firefighters are battling wildfires in California, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency.

Wildfires have become increasingly common throughout California, The New York Times noted, spurred by dry conditions and the ongoing drought. Firefighters have responded to nearly 6,800 individual fires since January, more than 1,500 above average.

Brown warned wildfires have become the "new normal" in California last month as rising temperatures and drought provide the perfect fuel for intense blazes. 

"The fires are changing. The drought over the last several years has made everything drier," Brown said at the time. "It's a new normal. We're going to get ready. We have resources, we'll need more, but you can be sure that the California firefighting personnel and all their different departments are ready and we're going to do everything we possibly can."

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