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Improved Weather Helps Fire Crews Gain Control Over California Blazes

Even though they're slowly gaining control, officials warn the 2020 fire season is far from over.
Posted at 12:44 PM, Aug 29, 2020

Firefighters have slowly gained control of some California wildfires, helped by a wave of cooler weather.

Evacuation orders were lifted for at least 50,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area and Napa Valley wine country on Friday. Crews are still working to restore water and power so more people can get back to their homes. 

But two blazes in the Sequoia National Forest in central California have prompted more evacuations. The fires merged together and had scorched nearly 40 square miles by Friday without containment.

Hundreds of wildfires have burned more than 5,900 square miles in the western U.S. Recent California fires have killed at least seven people. About 170,000 people were displaced at the peak of California fire storms. But dropping temperatures and rising humidity have helped curtail the fire spread.

Meanwhile, local crews are getting manpower help from about 200 active duty U.S. Army soldiers who were mobilized to join the fire fight.

But California's fire season is still far from over.

Gov. Gavin Newsom says state resources are strained, with more than 15,000 people working on the fire lines amid continued danger of more blazes to come. 

"We are putting every single asset we possibly can, pulling every conceivable resource to battle these historic wildfires," Newsom said. "Historic because we've already crossed the threshold, already this year, in terms of acreage burned that puts us not on pace for an historic wildfire season but actually sets the pace for an historic wildfire season.