Battling 18 blazes, California may face worst fire season

LAKEPORT, Calif. (AP) — California could be facing the toughest wildfire season ever as some 18 gigantic blazes ravage the state — and the historically worst months are still to come.

Some 14,000 firefighters are battling fires that have destroyed more than 1,000 homes and claimed six lives thanks to wind-whipped flames that have caused an explosive spread through vegetation left tinder-dry by years of drought.

Mark Hartwig of the California Fire Chiefs Association says fires are burning more intensely and quickly than before.

California’s largest recorded blaze — the side-by-side fires dubbed the Mendocino Complex — needed just 11 days to blacken an area nearly the size of Los Angeles.

A deadly fire that destroyed more than 1,000 homes in the Redding area of Northern California is less than 50 percent contained.