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Heat Hampering Wildfire Crews

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, August 13, 2012

The 100-or-above temperatures began on August 8th and are forecast to continue through this Thursday.

That would make it a nine-day stretch of a-hundred-degrees or higher for Downtown Sacramento. If it holds true it would be the longest streak since July of 2006.

Brooke Bingaman is a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. She says the heat is hampering fire crews battling several blazes…

"Not only are these temperatures hindering what the firefighters can do because it's keeping everything really dry and easier for fires to spread. But it's also something for residents near those fires to be aware of. Because there's smoke and haze near those fires - so residents in those areas, make sure you have air conditioning because it might not be feasible to keep your windows open at night because the smoke and hazy conditions might get into your house."

Strong winds and low humidity have helped a wildfire burning in the Plumas National Forest expand to nearly 47 square miles. Officials say the Chips Fire - burning since July 29th - consumed an additional 15 square miles after jumping fire lines over-the-weekend. The fire has prompted the evacuation of 55 homes spread out across a rural area near the community of Belden, a tiny mountain town about 120 miles north of Sacramento.

Just over 1,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, with more firefighters heading to the area to help out. Fire crews on the scene are working under a scorching sun, in rugged terrain covered by thick brush and dry timber. The fire is at 12% containment.

Another wildfire that sparked in Northern California yesterday afternoon has quickly grown to nearly eight square miles and led authorities to evacuate a Lake County community. Cal Fire says the blaze quickly grew out of control. It was burning on both sides of Highway 20 near the Highway 53 intersection.

A mandatory evacuation order was put in place for Spring Valley as Cal Fire deployed air and ground crews to fight the blaze. It had reportedly destroyed at least one building as it scorched nearly eight-square miles, or five-thousand acres. There were about 300 firefighters, four air-tankers and three helicopters battling the fire last night.



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