Thousands of firefighters struggle to contain giant blazes in California

Fred Greaves  Reuters
“We’re advised that the fire was threatening structures,” Mendocino County Undersheriff Matthew Kendall said

"We're in for a really rough ride, and it's going to get expensive, it's going to get risky", Brown said. "We are in uncharted territory".

A second wave of wildland firefighters from Florida reported for duty in California on Wednesday.

It's the largest of 18 wildfires burning throughout California.

"We had a lot of equipment on it last night", Gonzalez said.

The largest blaze burned in the Redding area, in Shasta County north of Sacramento.

The two fires have killed eight people, with the Carr Fire alone responsible for six of the deaths.

Watch an aerial video of the California fires.

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California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to reporters on the California wildfires and other matters at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services' operations center near Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018.

Meanwhile, at least three new fires erupted Wednesday in the Sierra Nevada region, including a blaze in Placer County that had consumed 405 hectares of land. More than 4,000 fire personnel are battling the flames.

The growing fire already had forced Cal Fire to issue new mandatory evacuation orders for residents living along the western shore of Clear Lake. It's made up of two blazes, the River Fire, which is 50 percent under control after burning 35,278 acres, and the Ranch Fire, which has torched 74,890 acres and is only 33 percent contained.

"We pretty much lost everything", said Smith, 77, who has lived in the neighborhood with her 80-year-old husband for 29 years.

The fire burning for 11 days in and around the city of Redding is now 200 square miles (518 square kilometers).

Elsewhere, fire authorities, utility crews and police were stepping up efforts to remove hazards such as downed power lines and ruptured gas lines to allow evacuees to return as quickly as possible to areas no longer threatened.

Weather agencies report that the current burst of fires came off the back of record-setting July temperatures; in northern California, for example, July temperatures were as much as 10 degree Fahrenheit higher than normal.

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