Australia, NZ firefighters fly out to battle deadly California wildfires

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California state Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an emergency proclamation on July 28 for a number of areas now under the influence of aggressive wildfires.

Elsewhere, fire authorities, utility crews and police were stepping up efforts to remove hazards such as downed power lines and ruptured gas lines to allow evacuees to return as quickly as possible to areas no longer threatened.

Another major blaze known as the Ferguson Fire broke out near the popular Yosemite National Park nearly three weeks ago, on July 13, and was only 39 percent contained by Thursday, officials said. Firefighters found the unlikely pair last week in the doorway of a home seeking shelter from the nearby fire.

"The winds kicked up, the temperatures kicked up and the humidities went down and then we started getting really erratic fire behavior", said Paul Lowenthal, a spokesman for Cal Fire. Jerry Brown warned today that "nature is powerful, and we're not on the side of nature", and that devastating blazes are "the new normal".

To the southwest of the Carr Fire, more than 3,000 firefighters were battling the 95,000-acre (38,450-hectare) Medocino Complex, made up of the Ranch and River fires that have destroyed seven homes and forced thousands to evacuate.

"We recognise that as people enter back into their neighbourhoods, they're going to know people, family members and neighbours that have lost homes", Moore said.


Twin fires also burned in Mendocino and Lake counties.

Thousands of firefighters were struggling Thursday to contain two vast wildfires in California, one of which has become one of the most destructive blazes in the state's history.

The two fires have killed eight people, with the Carr Fire alone responsible for six of the deaths.

After almost a week of burning through Northern California, the Carr fire is already one of the biggest blazes in California's history.

"The fuels are flashier than they are here", said Karels, the Florida Forest Service Director.

A 100-square mile fire near Yosemite National Park prompted evacuation orders on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) for the community of Wawona inside the park, which has fewer than 200 residents. They are 24 percent contained.

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