California wildfires: LA strike force joins effort as fires menace homes

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Los Angeles firefighters have been dispatched to help fight a wildfire burning in the Klamath National Forest.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said it sent four of its personnel from the Westlake area as part of a strike force including firefighters from Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance and West Covina.

The Beaver Fire burning about 575 miles northwest of L.A. in Siskiyou County had scorched more than 11,000 acres and was only 2 percent contained as of Tuesday morning.

Fire Tracker: Beaver Fire in Siskiyou County

Several large fires have continued to burn across the state, many of them started by lightning during recent thunderstorms.

Fire officials say light rain and increased humidity helped crews make progress against two wildfires in a Northern California forest that are just miles apart and are threatening hundreds of homes.

The smaller of the two fires in the Lassen National Forest is within sight of the small Shasta County town of Burney, though officials said it remained about 4 miles away on Tuesday morning.

The Eiler Fire, which has burned through nearly 45 square miles, did not grow substantially overnight. Crews also increased containment from 10 to 20 percent.

The fire is threatening more than 700 homes, some of which have been evacuated.

Fire Tracker: Eiler Fire in Shasta County

The nearby Bald Fire has forced the evacuation of about a dozen homes. U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jim Mackensen says containment on that fire jumped from 20 percent to 30 percent overnight. The fire has burned through 62 square miles.

Fire Tracker: Bald Fire in Shasta County

The Eiler and the Bald Fire, which was 30 percent corralled Tuesday morning, began within a day of each other in Lassen National Forest and expanded ferociously through drought-killed or weakened trees and brush.

Both were sparked by lightning. Firefighters were helped by slightly cooler, more humid weather but it came at a cost — an increasing chance of thunderstorms that could bring erratic winds and lightning, fire forecasts said.

The two wildfires were among about a dozen that had burned some 209 square miles across the state and that more than 7,500 federal and state firefighters battled, state fire spokeswoman Capt. Amy Head said. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency on Saturday, saying the circumstances and magnitude of the wildfires were beyond the control of any single local government and required the combined forces of regions to combat.

California is 35 percent above average in the number of fires it's seen so far this year, state fire spokesman Dennis Mathisen said Sunday. The state is also 44 percent above average in the amount of land burned.

Meanwhile, crews continued to make gains on the Day Fire burning in Modoc County, bringing containment to 65 percent. That fire has burned more than 13,000 acres.

Fire Tracker: Day Fire in Modoc County

Associated Press photographer Marico Jose Sanchez reported from Burney, Calif. Writers Terry Collins and Lisa Leff reported from San Francisco.

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