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Firefighter killed at scene of wildfire in Northern California

Airplane drops fire retardant over homes in Napa in August
An airplane drops fire retardant over homes in the Spanish Flat area of Napa in August.
(Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty Images)

A firefighter was killed and another injured Monday battling a wildfire in the Northern California forest, authorities said.

The firefighter was killed in the Mendocino National Forest north of San Francisco, where a wildfire that started Aug. 17 was 20% contained, according to a statement from the U.S. Forest Service.

No other details were immediately available.

The blaze was burning in timber, chaparral and tall grass. It began as 37 separate fires, but many have either been contained or merged, according to the Forest Service.

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Many other fires continued to burn.

California was free of extreme weather warnings Monday, but firefighters working to contain massive wildfires were cautioned about increasingly warm and dry conditions heading toward the Labor Day weekend.

California has a long history of lightning-caused fires, but 2020 is showing how a changing climate can affect the growth of such blazes.

The two largest fires, east and north of San Francisco Bay, were each about 65% surrounded, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. A third big fire, burning to the south in the Santa Cruz Mountains region, was 41% surrounded.

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That fire has burned nearly 900 homes.

The progress against the blazes has allowed thousands of people to return home, but nearly 40,000 remained under evacuation orders, Cal Fire said.

Those fires and others began with a massive electrical storm on Aug. 15 that unleashed thousands of lightning bolts.


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