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More than 13,000 firefighters battling wildfires

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An estimated 320,000 acres have been burned in 16 major fires so far this fire season, state officials said this morning at a multi-agency news conference with Gov. Jerry Brown in Sacramento County.

Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said:

“Currently we have thousands of state, local and federal firefighters on the line. … Over 13,000. We’ve also reached out to our neighboring states, and out of country as well.”

Forecasters at the National Weather Service are expecting 25 to 30 mph winds at higher inland elevations. It’s unclear, however, how those winds will affect the wildfires burning in Mendocino, Lake and Shasta Counties.

They were expecting wetter, cooler weather in Tuesday’s six- to 10-day outlook, but those conditions are not expected to help much.

Coastal areas will continue to enjoy comparably low fire dangers as the marine layer moves in and out each night, but the North Bay may continue to be impacted as triple-digit inland temperatures tax firefighting resources throughout the state.

As smoky skies persist over Northern California from multiple wildfires burning this week, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said onshore breezes will help clear out skies over much of the East Bay and South Bay.

The California Highway Patrol is also responding to the fires to help with traffic control and road closures.

The National Guard has deployed a variety of equipment and roughly 1,200 personnel to help provide military support to civil authorities by helping to prevent looting and repopulate formerly evacuated areas.

Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott called it a “fire siege”:

“This fire challenge is not just limited to California. … The entire western United States, including south into Texas, is experiencing significant fire conditions. There are over 27,000 firefighters on the fire lines throughout the western United States, so almost half of those are right here in California.”

Governor Brown called it a tremendous effort:

“It is very serious. … We’ve seen the lives that have been lost, and I express my sympathy for that. Whatever resources are needed, we’re putting them there. We did allocate money in the budget for these kind of contingencies.”

There are several major fires burning in Northern California today, the largest of which include 115,538-acre Carr Fire, which has destroyed more than 1,030 structures in the Redding area, as well as the 90,912-acre Mendocino Complex fires, which has destroyed more than 10 residential structures in the areas around Ukiah and Lakeport.

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