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Gov. calls in more resources for north state blaze

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POSTED July 13, 2012 9:37 p.m.

FORESTHILL  (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday called in more firefighters and the California National Guard to help battle a Placer County wildfire that has forced the evacuation of 300 people.

Brown said he is sending in a state incident management team to help coordinate the attack on the Robbers Fire, which has grown to nearly two square miles and threatens 150 homes.

The blaze, which is burning in a steep, heavily wooded area, also could endanger the small community of Colfax if it crosses into a nearby canyon. It was 10 percent contained.

Five helicopters and trained National Guard personnel have been activated to help battle the blaze, one of three currently burning in Northern California.

Ken Pimlott, the state fire director, said a two-year reprieve from wildfires in the region appears to be over.

"The exceptionally dry winter has set the stage for a more active fire season this year, and we're seeing fire activity now that we would typically not see until late August," he said in a statement.

Crews made progress overnight against the stubborn fire, but warm, windy weather and low humidity gave the blaze a lift on Friday.

"There has not been a lot of fire activity in this area for a long time, so there's a lot of brush, a lot of dry fuels ripe for burning," state fire spokesman Brice Bennett said.

Farther north, the Mill Fire had burned more than 36 square miles in Mendocino National Forest and destroyed five outbuildings. Three people were injured, and the blaze was 45 percent contained.

All roads and trails in the Stonyford area have been closed, and evacuations were still in effect for Fouts Springs, Bonnie View and Board Camp Springs. Campgrounds within the Upper Letts Lake area were also under evacuation orders.

In Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the Flat Fire was burning about 30 miles west of Weaverville and had scorched more than a square mile.

The fire briefly closed Highway 299 Wednesday, and traffic escorts remained in place Friday. The fire was about 20 percent contained.

In Colusa County, the Sites Complex Fire was completely contained.

 

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