Northern California Thrust Into Wildfire Season

Triple-digit temperatures and gusty winds thrust Northern California on Thursday into full-fledged wildfire season with several new blazes flaring up, forcing hundreds of people from their homes. Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection, said that California's 14 large fires, mostly in the scorched northern half of the state, are pushing 7,000 firefighters to their limits as they battle flames amid drought. Dozens of fires started Wednesday, but Berlant said crews quickly corralled all but five of them. As of now, the biggest challenge for firefighters is a fast-spreading blaze in Lake County, 130 miles north of San Francisco. The fire started Wednesday, and within hours destroyed two homes and charred more than 12 square miles.