CalFire says it’s already responded to 300 wildfires this year, up from the 50 that would be normal for this time in a typical year. Now the agency is asking landowners to clear defensible space around homes months before they normally would.
Dave Zaski with the North Tahoe Fire Department says people need to be extra careful to avoid causing fires.
“We can’t do anything about lightning," he said. "But the most damaging fires are human caused, like the Rim Fire, where they had a camp ground fire when they shouldn’t have had.”
Zaski said the region has already seen a wild land fire on the Nevada side of the lake. He says that’s unusual because the fire was at an elevation of 7,000 feet.
Fire crews have made gains against the Detwiler Fire blaze that has scorched 78,900 acres of dense brush and dead trees near Yosemite National Park. CAL FIRE says the blaze is 60 percent contained.
Update 6:54 p.m.: The fire has burned 78,900 acres and is 60 percent contained.
2009 marked the first time a giant Boeing 747 dropped a load of bright pink retardant on a fire in California. While the 747 is not currently an option for fighting fires in the state, another of these planes may soon be certified.
California's wildfires have burned more than three times the acreage compared to this time last year. The intense start is thanks to the thick grasslands left behind after this year's heavy rainfall.
July 22, UPDATE 1:39 p.m.: CAL FIRE continues to estimate the Detwiler Fire at 75,200 acres with 30 percent containment. It has destroyed more than 100 homes and outbuildings, and another 1,500 structures remain threatened.