Ponderosa Fire acreage up, but so is containment

A Boeing 747-400 Super Tanker makes a retardant drop at the Ponderosa Fire in Butte County

Thousands of people have been driven from their homes in OR and hundreds in California, where a blaze burned 10 homes and threatened 500 more near a hard-hit community and another kept a popular road to Yosemite National Park closed.

An evacuation center at the Church of Nazarene in Oroville had 15 evacuees Wednesday morning, with the capacity to provide 100 beds if needed, said Lori Nichols, a volunteer with the American Red Cross from Elk Grove.

"It's risky work where they're at", said Capt. Joe Chavez, with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The blaze is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Burning Man.

Ballenger was in court Friday where he was arraigned on recklessly causing a fire on forest land and recklessly causing a fire that destroyed inhabitant dwellings. Seven ranches were threatened, and full containment isn't expected for a week.

The world's newest and largest aerial firefighting tanker, that is housed in Colorado Springs, went into action Wednesday night.

Adding to what's predicted to be a record-setting day of heat Friday, smoke from several wildfires burning north of the Bay Area has now migrated southward and settled in over parts of the East Bay and Marin, creating a noticeable haze.

Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the wildfire in rural Northern California that has forced the evacuation of 2,500 homes. The fire is 30 percent contained.

More than 1,600 firefighters are battling the so-called Ponderosa Fire, another natural disaster striking the United States while the South battles tropical storm Harvey.

Firefighters say the wildfire has burned 60 acres (24 hectares) of steep terrain covered by pine trees and brush.

It says fire crews from across California are joining more than 1,000 firefighters battling the fire that started Tuesday.

The blaze that began Tuesday near the town of Oroville is among a series of wildfires burning across the U.S. West, including in and around California's Yosemite National Park.



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