Firefighters Attack 11 Major Wildfires in California

The wildfires burning in California include the 13th-largest fire in the state's history

By Jonathan Lloyd and Brandon Lowrey
|  Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013  |  Updated 8:50 AM EDT
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The 250-square-mile Rim fire that spread into Yosemite National Park as it continued to scorch a wide area of Stanislaus National Forest is one of 11 major wildfires burning this week during what has been an active fire season in California. Robert Kovacik reports from Tuolumne City for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013.

Robert Kovacik

The 250-square-mile Rim fire that spread into Yosemite National Park as it continued to scorch a wide area of Stanislaus National Forest is one of 11 major wildfires burning this week during what has been an active fire season in California. Robert Kovacik reports from Tuolumne City for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013.

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The 250-square-mile Rim fire that spread into Yosemite National Park as it continued to scorch a wide area of Stanislaus National Forest is one of 11 major wildfires burning this week during what has been an active fire season in California.

Photos: Southern California Wildfires

Nearly 9,000 firefighters from several local, state and federal agencies have been deployed to attack the fires amid windy conditions, according to officials with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). The Rim Fire -- by far the largest and most active -- is now the 13th-largest fire in the state's history and one of seven that has scorched more than 10,000 acres this summer.

Nearly 3,700 firefighters were battling the Rim Fire as of Monday night. It has charred 22,000 acres in Yosemite and caused road closures around the famed national park, according to the National Park Service.

Gov. Jerry Brown toured the Rim fire burn area Monday morning. He said he's making sure the "resources" in terms of "funding and talent" would be made available to continue fighting the Rim Fire.

"Firefighters have a real challenge on their hands," Brown said. "This is one of the worst."

Brown spoke Sunday to President Barack Obama, who reiterated his commitment to providing needed federal resources, according to the White House.  Brown told NBC4 that he is confident he will need to request more federal money to help fight the state's wildfires before the end of the season.

Through Aug. 17 of this year, 4,715 fires have been reported in the Cal Fire state responsibility area and the local responsibility area under contract with Cal Fire. Those fires burned nearly 95,000 acres.

During the same period last year, 3,443 fires burned about 76,000 acres.

The state has averaged about 3,000 wildfires per year since 2008, according to Cal Fire statistics.

"This is something we have to live with, and it's going to get worse in years to come," Brown said Monday.

Monday Night Update: Wildfires Larger Than 10,000 Acres

Deer Fire, Tehama County
Acreage: 10,378 acres
Containment: 70 percent

Rim Fire, Tuolumne County
Acreage: 160,980 acres
Containment: 20 percent

American Fire, Placer County
Acreage: 24,684 acres
Containment: 81 percent
 
Spring Peak Fire, Mono County
Acreage: 14,230 acres
Containment: 98 percent
Note: The fire is primarily in Nevada, but burned into California

Orleans Complex, Siskiyou County
Acreage: 21,188 acres
Containment: 45 percent

Corral Complex, Humboldt County
Acreage: 11,732 acres
Containment: 5 percent

Salmon River Complex, Siskiyou County
Acreage: 14,771 acres
Containment: 95 percent

Aspen Fire, Fresno County
Acreage: 22,800 acres
Containment: 95 percent
 
On Sunday, crews contained the 4,500-acre Mission Fire at Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County.

The two largest Southern California fires are the Little and Gobblers fires, burning east and southeast of Los Angeles.

The Gobblers fire began Aug. 19 in steep terrain near Lytle Creek, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. The 400-acre fire was 90 percent contained Monday morning.

Fire investigators said a lightning strike started the fire.

The Little fire began Aug. 24 in chaparral and scattered timber south of Lake Hemet, about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The 100-acre fire was 50 percent contained Monday morning.

The fires were sparked after one of the driest California winters on record. A May snowpack survey found levels at only 17 percent of normal, raising concern about summer fire activity.

The map below displays Cal Fire wildland fire incidents.
 


View California Fire Map in a larger map

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