Therapy dogs comfort California crews battling wildfires
Therapy dogs recently paid a special visit to some California firefighters to offer comfort and support as they continue to battle wildfires across the state.
Video showed Labradors Moose, 4, and his nephew Rhino, 1, visiting the Windy Fire base camp in Porterville. They visited several wildfire base camps in California between Sept. 25 and Sept. 28, including those of the Windy Fire and the Caldor Fire.
"So much fun visiting all those protecting the beautiful nearby National Parks," said the Instagram post.
Fires have burned more than 3,075 square miles so far in 2021 in California, destroying more than 3,000 homes, commercial properties and other structures.
RELATED: Palo Alto woman who allegedly started Fawn Fire had lighter in her pocket: DA
Those fires include a pair of big forest blazes burning for more than two weeks in the heart of giant sequoia country on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. More than 1,700 firefighters battled the KNP Complex Fires, which covered 76 square miles by Wednesday. The blaze burning in Tulare County was only 11% contained.
Half of that land scorched this year — 1,505 square miles — was burned by the Dixie Fire across five counties in the northern Sierra and southern Cascades region. It is the second-largest fire on record in California and has destroyed more than 1,300 homes, businesses and other structures. It was 94% contained as of Wednesday.
Pacific Gas & Electric has acknowledged that its equipment may have played a role in sparking the blaze on July 13. Fire officials estimate the blaze will be fully contained by Oct. 30.
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Officials have lifted all evacuation orders after crews made great progress corralling a wildfire that was started by a woman last week and has destroyed dozens of homes near Shasta Lake in Northern California, authorities said Wednesday.
The Fawn Fire was 75% contained after destroying 185 homes and other buildings in an unincorporated area north of the city of Redding, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
Alexandra Souverneva, 30, is being held at Shasta County Jail after being charged with felony arson to wildland with an enhancement because of a declared state of emergency in California, prosecutors said. Souverneva pleaded not guilty.
RELATED: Cal Fire worries wildfire arson cases are on the rise
According to KTVU, Cal Fire investigators say they are seeing an increase in arson arrests with some of those suspects accused of starting this year's largest wildfires. In just the last two years alone, Cal Fire says they've arrested hundreds of people on arson charges.
A historic drought in the American West tied to climate change is making wildfires harder to fight. It has killed millions of trees in California alone. Scientists say climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.