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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
More than 27,000 firefighters from across California continue to battle a wildfire in a rugged area north of Sacramento. The fire has forced 1,500 people to flee their homes.
The Pawnee Fire in Lake County has already burned 13,500 acres and is only 25 percent contained, KCRA TV Channel 3 in Sacramento reported on Wednesday. There have been no reports of injuries or deaths.
So far, the blaze has destroyed 12 homes and 10 other buildings. It also threatens another 600 buildings.
Firefighters Having Trouble Getting Equipment Close to Pawnee Fire
There are only a few roads into the remote area where the Pawnee Fire is burning. That has made it difficult for firefighting equipment to get close to the blaze, which began last Saturday.
Cal Fire spokesman Anthony Brown told the Los Angeles Times that the fire has been spreading northeast into hills and valleys and away from homes. Winds have been light and have not posed a significant challenge to firefighters.
State officials blamed the Pawnee Fire and several other wildfires on unusually hot weather, high winds and highly flammable vegetation that had turned brittle by drought.
Governor Jerry Brown Declares State of Emergency
On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, which frees more state resources to fight the fire and for recovery efforts.
Lake County official Jim Steele said the county is impoverished and its firefighting equipment is antiquated. He noted that the area has been susceptible to fires for decades because of dense brush and trees. However, the severity of the latest blazes was unexpected, he acknowledged.