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California Wildfires Destroy Homes

Pat Campbell, of Callahan, Calif., cuts down a tree damaged by the Eiler Fire, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014.
Pat Campbell, of Callahan, Calif., cuts down a tree damaged by the Eiler Fire, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014.
VOA News

Firefighters battling two massive fires in Northern California may finally have some relief, with more humid conditions forecast, but thunderstorms could bring more fire-causing lightening.

The two fires have destroyed 11 homes and scorched thousands of hectares of land since Friday.

State fire spokeswoman Captain Amy Head said fire crews in Northern California were trying to beat back wildfires burning near the town of Burney in Shasta County on Monday.

Burney residents faced possible evacuation as the two blazes, now within a few kilometers of one another, threatened their town.

The fires started at about the same time in Lassen National Forest. They have destroyed hundreds of kilometers of forest, burned down at least 8 homes and now threaten to destroy more buildings.

Northern California has been suffering through one of the worst droughts on record.

East of the state's capital Sacramento, hundreds of homes were evacuated along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range after the so-called Sand Fire burned ten residences and seven other buildings.

The blaze, which fire officials said may have been started by a vehicle driving over dry vegetation, is only 35 percent contained as firefighters face dry conditions, high winds, and triple-digit temperatures.

A second fire west of Yosemite National Park quadrupled in size overnight to consume 859 hectares. It forced the evacuation of about 100 homes in the community of Foresta, where one house was destroyed.

The park remains open.

Federal fire officials are working to contain 19 blazes in six western states, with state and local teams battling dozens more throughout the region.

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