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The Latest: California fires have forced 50,000 from homes

July 29, 2018

REDDING, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on fires in California (all times local):

9:35 a.m.

California fire officials say wildfires around the state have forced roughly 50,000 people from their homes.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said Sunday that 12,000 firefighters were battling 17 significant fires in California.

She said the state has experienced considerably more fire activity so far this year than it did over the same period of time last year, and the worst part of the fire season was still to come.

A fire in the Redding area about 230 miles (370 kilometers) north of San Francisco has claimed five lives and destroyed more than 500 buildings while charring 139 square miles (360 square kilometers).

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9 a.m.

Crews are getting control of a small wildfire in California’s wine country county of Napa, but two blazes farther north are raging mostly unchecked.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the blaze around Lake Berryessa in Napa County that destroyed seven structures was 50 percent contained as of Sunday morning.

The fire broke out a day earlier and forced evacuations. It has burned 150 acres (61 hectares).

Two fires about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest in Mendocino County have consumed 39 square miles (101 square kilometers) and destroyed four homes.

Cal Fire spokeswoman Tricia Austin said Sunday the blazes were each 5 percent contained. The fires have forced evacuations and are threatening more than 4,500 structures.

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8:10 a.m.

Fire officials say a deadly Northern California wildfire that has destroyed more than 500 buildings and is threatening thousands more did not grow as dramatically overnight, though crews are still struggling to corral it.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Anthony Romero said Sunday the fire in the Redding area grew by roughly 9 square miles (23 square kilometers) to 139 square miles (360 square kilometers). It remains 5 percent contained.

Romero said there are still many uncertainties that could cause the fire to explode. Crews have been dealing with gusty winds and hot temperatures.

A vehicle problem ignited the fire Monday, but it wasn’t until Thursday that the fire exploded and raced into communities west of Redding before entering city limits.

The fire has left five people dead, including a 70-year-old woman and her two young great-grandchildren. It has destroyed 517 buildings and damaged another 135. More than 5,000 structures are threatened and tens of thousands of people are under evacuation orders.

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10 p.m.

A deadly Northern California wildfire has destroyed more than 500 buildings and is threatening thousands more as it rages into its fourth day.

The fire in the Redding area has left five people dead, including a 70-year-old woman and her two young great-grandchildren.

About 38,000 people remained under evacuation orders Saturday and are staying with relatives or in hotels or shelters.

Anna Noland, who was evacuated twice in three days, learned Friday that she had lost her home. She says it’s hard to believe.

A vehicle problem ignited the fire Monday, but it wasn’t until Thursday that the fire exploded and raced into communities west of Redding before entering city limits.

It was pushing southwest of Redding on Saturday, toward the tiny communities of Ono, Igo and Gas Point.

The fire grew slightly to 131 square miles (340 square kilometers) Saturday.

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