United States wildfires scorching homes, land - and California's annual budget

A fire truck rushes past flames that overran a road at the River Fire in Lakeport California on Tuesday

Cal Fire Operations Section Chief Charlie Blankenheim told a gathering of residents at a meeting in Kelseyville Wednesday night that the Ranch Fire had burned more than 25,000 acres of the national forest.

The new orders expand the area under mandatory evacuation to west of Lucerne at Bartlett Springs Road and Highway CA-20, south of the fire, east of the fire, north of Clear Lake including the communities of Blue Lakes, Upper Lake, Nice, Lakeport, WitterSprings, Bachelor Valley, Scotts Valley, Saratoga Springs.

However, authorities who had feared there might be more casualties reported Wednesday that all those who had been reported missing had been located.

The toll of devastation from one of the most brutal fires in California history rose Wednesday to more than 1,000 homes destroyed and nearly 200 damaged as a sprawling wildfire ignited by a spark from a towed vehicle grew to 180 square miles.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Office issued an evacuation warning around 4:40 p.m. Wednesday.

"People are doing everything they can, but nature is very powerful and we're not on the side of nature", Brown said.

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- The forward spread of the so-called Western Fire in Mendocino County has been stopped and is 50 percent contained, Cal Fire officials tweeted Wednesday evening.

July was a devastating month for California, and the state has already spent more than a quarter of its firefighting budget for the entire season. The 1,018 homes, 12 businesses and 435 other buildings that have been confirmed as destroyed place the blaze sixth on the state's list of most destructive fires.

So far, a total of six people have been killed as a result of the blaze, including two firefighters assisting efforts to control it.

The state is ablaze with more than a dozen wildfires. "I see there's a few statuaries in the backyard that maybe we can save".

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. Jerry Brown. "All that is the new normal that we will have to face".

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