11,000 Firefighters on Front Lines in California Blazes

August 21, 2015

A large blaze burning for nearly three weeks in a recreation area outside Kings Canyon National Park has scorched more than 50 square miles and the flames were moving toward a popular lake, officials said Thursday.

More than 1,000 firefighters were tackling the Fresno County fire that was sparked by lightning July 31. Flames have run through grass on steep hillsides and isolated ridges in Sierra National Forest.

The blaze led to the evacuation of more than 2,500 campers, hikers, employees and residents this week. It was just 3 percent contained.

wildfireFlames on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada have crossed Highway 180 and a river, pushing people out of an area near Hume Lake, one of the most visited areas in Sequoia National Forest.

The fire sent up a huge smoke cloud visible on weather radar that reached heights of about 30,000 feet, the National Weather Service said.

Wildfires throughout California have kept more than 11,000 firefighters on front lines for weeks.

A wildfire on the eastern outskirts of the San Francisco Bay Area scorched nearly 4 square miles of dry brush near Livermore by Thursday after burning down at least one unoccupied home in the rural area the day before.

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