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19 wildfires burn in California

Firefighters in California were battling 19 large wildfires statewide, officials said Sunday, including a brush fire that was being called the largest ever in Los Angeles.

In all, more than more than 12,000 pairs of boots were on the ground battling the fires, and temperatures on Sunday were up to 20 degrees hotter than usual.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday issued an emergency proclamation for Butte County, north of Sacramento, in the wake of the Ponderosa fire, which began on Aug. 29.

The fire, which is dwarfed by several larger blazes elsewhere in the state, has burned about 4,000 acres so far. It has destroyed 32 homes and was estimated at 56% contained, state officials said.

In the Pier fire, a mandatory evacuation order was in place near the town of Springville, with more than 1,200 firefighters on site. But a few residents chose to stay to look after their properties and help firefighters.

“We have some grit to stay here,” Michelle Ray told KMPH-TV. “I know it was mandatory. I was afraid to leave, but they won’t let you back in.”

Ray said she and about a dozen others decided to remain in their homes near Camp Nelson, in the Sequoia National Forest.

“My husband and I own a water company,” she said. “We stayed to make sure the engines would have water.”

Evacuations ordered in ‘largest ever’ Los Angeles wildfire
In Los Angeles, the La Tuna Canyon fire, a nearly 5,900-acre blaze burning in mountains north of downtown, has destroyed three homes, closed a stretch of the 210 Freeway and forced hundreds of area residents to evacuate, the Los Angeles Times reported. The fire sent two firefighters to hospitals for dehydration, city officials said.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a local emergency, with officials calling La Tuna the largest by acreage in L.A.’s history. Brown on Sunday also issued an emergency proclamation for Los Angeles County due to the fire.

Firefighters were hoping that moisture from Tropical Storm Lidia might help fight the blaze.

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