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Salute to Firefighters; Selfless Battling to Flames in California amid the Record Heat

California fire fighters are now battling with the state's 2nd, 3rd largest ever.They are struggling to contain massive wildfires that left at least four people dead and ruined neighborhoods -- and approaching weather could make things worse for exhausted crews.

Though more than 13,000 firefighters are battling the flames -- some on 24-hour shifts -- there are too many fires and not enough resources to prevent more homes from being torched, Cal Fire officials have said.

Almost every firefighting resource in California is battling the blazes, and firefighters from neighboring states are pitching in, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.

Efforts to distinguish the fire is continuing since a week amid the recorded heat threat in California.The extreme heat is a challenging one to the fire fighters' life itself. But the intensive sincerity make them to forget themselves to cope with the extreme situation.

Inmate firefighters "are an integral part of our firefighting operations," Cal Fire spokeswoman Christine McMorrow said. The early releases have meant 600 fewer inmate firefighters are available this fire season compared to last year.

The L.N.U. and S.C.U. fire complexes grew to be the state's second and third largest wildfires ever on Saturday, trailing behind the 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire, which burned more than 700 square miles, according to Cal Fire.

Firefighters are now worried about forecasts that say dry thunderstorms -- featuring lightning but little rain -- could spark more fires and spread existing ones Sunday through Tuesday.

Hundreds of wildfires are burning in California, 100,000 people are under evacuation orders, and the governor is calling in help from 10 U.S. states, Canada and Australia to tame the blazes that have scorched an area the size of Rhode Island.

Salute to Firefighters; Selfless Battling to Flames in California amid the Record Heat
A Firefighter Standing in California fire

Some 560 wildfires were burning as of Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said, including two fire complexes that on Saturday grew to be the second and third largest wildfires in California history. The fires have killed at least six people, injured 33 people and firefighters, and destroyed more than 500 homes and other buildings. 

"We have wildfires burning ... the size of the state of Rhode Island. The size of the state of Rhode Island," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday. "It’s very, very sad ... All of us solute our firefighters.

Two fires -- the 314,000-acre LNU Lightning Complex Fire in the northern Bay Area and Central Valley, and the 291,000-acre SCU Lightning Complex Fire largely east of San Jose -- are among the state's three largest wildfires in recorded history.

Further west, a third complex – the C.Z.U. Lightning Complex in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties – has burned nearly 100 square miles and is 5% contained.

"What we're worried about is what happens after Sunday, if we do get more lightning strikes and fires," Cal Fire Battalion Chief Lucas Spelman said Saturday. "What's it going to mean for firefighters who could be on the lines for two, three weeks, even a month?

"Because not only will they have been dealing every day with the heat, smoke and flames, but also physical exhaustion. Mental exhaustion, too."

The National Weather Service has issued air quality alerts for parts of at least six states: California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico. These alerts warn of moderate to heavy smoke, and advise people -- especially those with heart disease or respiratory illnesses -- to consider staying indoors and limiting outdoor activity.

Several global air quality monitoring websites show levels in California's Bay Area and Central Valley recently have been worse than anywhere else, including locations generally regarded as having the poorest air quality, like India and eastern China.

As of Friday, 92 large fires were burning in at least 14 states, including 16 in Oregon, 11 in Arizona and five in Colorado, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

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