Rocky Fire Grows to 69,000 Acres, Firefighters Fear Lighting Strikes

A total of 23 fires are racing across California

Firefighters struggled to make progress to contain the Rocky Fire overnight, as they braced for the possibility of thunder and lightning that could make conditions for fighting the largest of California’s 23 wildfires burning statewide worse.

On Wednesday, the seventh day of the fire, Cal Fire said the blaze had charred 69,600 acres of land in Lake, Yolo and Colusa counties, and was 30 percent contained – 10 percent more than Tuesday.

The fire, though, had only grown by about 1,000 acres in the last 24 hours. Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said the 3,400 firefighters hoped to fully contain the blaze by Aug. 10, though “hotter, drier conditions are expected to return during the day increasing the potential for fire activity throughout the fire area.”

Nearly 7,000 structures remained under threat on Wednesday, while 40 homes and 50 other buildings had been destroyed, Cal Fire said.

While the Rocky Fire is California’s largest wildfire, there were 22 other wildfires racing across the state. On Wednesday, Berlant said a total of 10,000 firefighters were trying to quell a total of 23 wildfires, which could increase in number and scope because of expected thunderstorms and lightning strikes.

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