Over 6,000 firefighters battle California wildfires

California widfires.
California widfires.

US: More than 6,000 firefighters battled 14 large wildfires across California Monday as hot, dry and windy conditions in many areas fanned flames, forcing thousands of evacuations and destroying dozens of structures.

One blaze scorched vineyards in a major wine region of the state and another briefly trapped youth at a summer camp. Australian vintner Treasury Wine Estates confirmed to CNBC that one of its California vineyards was damaged in the wildfires. Three of the largest fires burning now in the state have already charred more than 54,000 acres, or about 84 square miles. The state's five-year drought left extremely dry vegetation and winter rains produced thick grasses, which are now drying out and providing the perfect fuel for massive fires.

“The drought-stressed vegetation is still out there with an abundant grass crop that we have across the state,” Cal Fire spokeswoman Amy Head said Monday. “Those are both factors contributing to the number of fires that we're seeing.”

Overall, California has seen an amount of acreage charred so far this year that is more than double the amount at the same period last year, according to Cal Fire. The risk of fire remains high statewide with more than 100 million dead trees in California forests following the long drought.

The busy start to the fire season could result in increased firefighting costs for the state at a time when California is seeing its state revenues fall below forecasts. On Monday, the state Controller's Office reported that monthly revenues for June were about $2.7 billion short of projections in the governor's revised budget.

The state spent more than $210 million last year during the wildfire season and so far this season it appears to be spending money at a faster pace than last June or July in order to keep up with the growing number of fires.

- ANC NEWS 


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