Australian firefighters deployed as California bushfires intensify

Australian firefighters deployed as California bushfires intensify

The nearby Ranch Fire also broke out Friday and has burned almost 75,000 acres.

Strong gusts began kicking up again on Wednesday night across upper ridge lines of the fire's mountainous western flank, where the blaze, sparked by a vehicle malfunction on 23 July, was still burning largely unchecked. "If it does continue, then everybody in the state will be working hard and we're bringing in resources from outside the state", Matlow said.

The latest fire to erupt Wednesday in the wildfire-stricken county burned 45 acres off of Highway 101 south of Hopland, officials said.

The Kansas Forest Service says 18 people from the state have been sent to directly support wildland firefighting efforts in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming.

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In another sign the crisis in Redding was ebbing, law enforcement officials said the last four people reported as missing among a list of 20 whose names were published on Tuesday were located safe and sound on Wednesday.

Following years of drought and a summer of record-breaking heat, vast tracts of forests, chaparral and grasslands have become tinder that allows even a small spark to explode into a devouring blaze, authorities said.

Tens of thousands of people remain under evacuation orders. The fire has burned more than 162 square miles and destroying more than 1,100 structures, is the most destructive fire in Shasta County history.

Air tankers have been dropping fire retardant on two wildfires in Northern California to help try and stop them spreading any further.

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Extreme weather conditions are expected to return on Thursday and could stoke wildfires in California where thousands of tired firefighters are battling the destructive and deadly blazes.

Other fires raging in the state include the Mendocino Complex.

Fire officials said such blazes had been fuelled by several years of drought-dessicated vegetation, and stoked by frequent and persistent bouts of erratic winds and triple-digit temperatures.

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