US wildfires ease as rain reaches Pacific coast

Cooler, wetter weather provides much needed help in the fight against the California blazes.

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    Fires spread rapidly across northern California, destroying hundreds of homes, forcing thousands of people to flee [AFP]
    Fires spread rapidly across northern California, destroying hundreds of homes, forcing thousands of people to flee [AFP]

    Welcome rainfall has at last made its way into the northwestern US.

    Even more welcome is the news that there has recently been some rain making its way into California where wild fires continue to burn.

    Tuesday saw some good rain with over 50mm falling in parts of southern California. Los Angeles International Airport registered 45mm in 24 hours.

    That is the most recorded on a single day here in over four years.

    Rain will become increasingly patchy as we head towards the weekend, but there has also been some useful rainfall in northern California where the Middletown fires have been raging out of control.

    Firefighters have been making some headway, and have now contained around a third of the blaze.

    California remains in the grip of a four-year-long drought, and the state has seen 1,500 more fires this year than last year.

    California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) battled 3,638 blazes in 2014, compared to 5,225 fires so far this time round.

    Scott McClean, CAL FIRE battalion chief, said that the blazes, like the Valley Fire, 100km north of San Francisco, are now "burning with an unpredictability and malevolence rarely seen".

    The fire currently ranked the ninth most destructive in California's history.

    However, CAL FIRE's chief of public information believes it is likely to make the top five of that list before it is finally extinguished.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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