Fire in Butte County leads to evacuations

Fire in Butte County leads to evacuations

Fire in Butte County leads to evacuations

Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for a rural wildfire that has forced the evacuation of 2,500 homes.

Ballenger was in court Friday where he was arraigned on recklessly causing a fire on forest land and recklessly causing a fire that destroyed inhabitant dwellings.

The fire has burned 10 residences and 20 outbuildings and is threatening 1,300 structures, including 500 homes, Cal Fire reported Thursday morning.

"He had a campfire burning 24-7", the district attorney said.

On Wednesday, firefighters battled rapid fire development, unsafe rates of spread and high temperatures, Cal Fire said.

Ballenger appeared in court wearing a yellow jail-issued jumpsuit and did not immediately enter a plea. His bail has been set at $1 million, and he is next scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

La Tuna Fire, named after the canyon area where it erupted on Friday, has led authorities to evacuate more than 700 homes in a north Los Angeles neighborhood and in nearby Burbank and Glendale, officials said.

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Adding to what's predicted to be a record-setting day of heat Friday, smoke from several wildfires burning north of the Bay Area has now migrated southward and settled in over parts of the East Bay and Marin, creating a noticeable haze.

Ramsey said the charges now filed against Ballenger carry a maximum penalty of 7 years, 8 months in prison.

Cal Fire has arrested 29-year-old John Ballenger, on suspicion of letting an illegal campfire escape. The public defender's office could not be reached for comment.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents in Burbank as a raging brush fire threatens their homes.

About 100 firefighers remained on the lines last night, after air tankers dumped fire retardants on the flaming sagebrush and invasive cheat grass.

Bone-dry conditions, high winds and triple-digit temperatures pose "an imminent threat" to residents, Bullock said in the disaster declaration, which would allow the state to mobilize additional Montana National Guard troops and tap other state resources to combat the blazes.

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