More than a dozen Oregon and California wildfires blazing across both states have wreaked havoc as crews work to contain the fires. High temperatures and extreme drought conditions have made the fires even more of a burden to extinguish.
The wildfires in Northern California prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to issue a state of emergency over the weekend. The declaration secures firefighting cost reimbursement for local and state agencies responding to the fires as reported by USA Today.
The wildfires have scorched over 32 square miles across both states and put hundreds of buildings at risk.
Gov. Brown secured a federal grant on Saturday to cover 75% of the cost to fight a wildfire that began in Oregon and crossed over into California.
Three of the California wildfires were started by lightning. The fires have led to the evacuations of at least four towns.
As a number of wildfires continue to take over thousands of acres in the northern region of the state, firefighters are obtaining assistance from the Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing.
Two C-130J military aircrafts landed at McClelland Airfield on Saturday for assistance. CalFire and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services requested the aerial assistance.
“This particular airplane drops between 3,000 gallons of retardant and the airplane is also used for every other air force mission that can be imagined,” said 146th Airlift Wing pilot Lt. Col. Bill Willson.
Ground crews continued to work on the Day Fire blazing through Modoc County. Day Fire has burned nearly 19 square miles and threatens 200 structures. Aerial assistance has help to slow the fire’s progression. The fire is 25% contained.
“We put two loads of retardant on it,” Wilson said. “It’s currently burning to the southeast and we protected a town to the north.”
“It’s essentially a predictable fire season today,” Wilson said. “But tomorrow, that may change very rapidly, so mother nature has a tendency to have her own design on how she wants to start fires, and most of these fires were started by lightning strikes.”