As wildfires continue to burn across much of California, the state's governor, Jerry Brown, has declared a state of emergency in hopes of putting more muscle into the fight against the flames. Fires are blazing in at least 18 areas, mostly in the dry northern part of the state, amid triple-digit temperatures and strong winds, SFGate reported.
“California’s severe drought and extreme weather have turned much of the state into a tinderbox,” Gov. Brown said Friday. “Our courageous firefighters are on the front lines, and we’ll do everything we can to help them.”
The state of emergency declaration is meant to allow for the mobilization of more firefighters and to secure additional disaster response supplies. The state's National Guard sent a fleet of eight helicopters to help fight the flames on Thursday, but so far the fires are still not under control. In Lake County, where some of the fiercest fires are burning, just 5 percent of the brutal flames have been contained.
— KTVU (@KTVU) July 31, 2015
In addition to mobilizing more supplies and firefighters, the state of emergency relaxes environmental rules and rules restricting trespassing on private property, which allows firefighters to cross properties and more readily fight the fires.
“It eliminates a lot of the red tape or procedural hurdles you can have when multiple catastrophic incidences are colliding,” Brad Alexander, a spokesman for the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, told the Sacramento Bee.
California has seen frequent wildfires over the years, however, the ongoing fires are reported to have been particularly intense. The state has suffered from a prolonged drought, high temperatures and unusually severe weather in recent months.
More residents were required to evacuate areas affected by the wildfires Friday, in addition to at least 650 residents who were forced to leave their homes last week. As many as 7,000 firefighters are currently battling the flames, and a handful of homes are reported to have been destroyed.
Tara Wallis, executive producer of KTLA, a southern California news station, tweeted a photo of wildfires approaching the home of pop singer and television host Lance Bass.
— Tara Wallis (@tarawallis) August 1, 2015
Firefighters protecting my house right now! Thanks fellas! https://t.co/l6MLmQxD4L
— Lance Bass (@LanceBass) August 1, 2015
Authorities are concerned that thunderstorms, expected this weekend, could trigger additional fires, the LA Times reported.