Weather provides some help to California firefighers

Crews battling two dozen wildfires in drought-stricken California on Wednesday have made progress in some areas thanks to lower temperatures and higher humidity, officials said.

California: Crews battling two dozen wildfires in drought-stricken California on Wednesday have made progress in some areas thanks to lower temperatures and higher humidity, officials said.

But the respite will be brief as temperatures were expected to rise, with the air also turning drier again. 

And thunderstorms that bring fire-igniting lightning but little or no water are forecast for Thursday, CAL FIRE said.

More than 10,000 firefighters are tackling the fires that have forced thousands to flee their homes and ravaged large tracts of land in the most populous US state.

The biggest blaze in northern California, dubbed the Rocky Fire, has drawn in more than 3,200 firefighers. 

Valiant efforts by fellow crews brought two other fires -- one in Shasta County and another in Los Angeles County -- under control, CAL FIRE said. 

But new fires continued to pop up and quickly spread, abetted by one of the worst droughts in California on record.

The state is bringing in extra crews from southern California to the hard-hit north, and making firefighters already on the ground work overtime and cancel days off, CAL FIRE spokesman Daniel Berlant said. 

The week-old Rocky Fire has forced more than 13,000 people to evacuate their homes in Colusa, Lake and Yolo counties north of Sacramento, the state`s capital, and charred more than 68,300 acres (27,320 hectares) of land and destroyed around two dozen homes.

Only about 20 percent of the inferno is under control, CAL FIRE said.

State-wide, at least 142,000 acres of land have burned so far.

California is in the throes of a severe drought, with much of the state completely parched and residents asked to make major cutbacks in water use.

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