Rain helps in California fire fight, lightning sparks others

National & World News

FILE – In this Aug. 16, 2021, file photo, a firefighter battles the Dixie Fire as it jumps Highway 395, south of Janesville in Lassen County, Calif. Critical fire weather throughout the region has spread multiple wildfires burning in Northern California. Wildfire managers are often asked why firefighters simply don’t put out the flames to save their homes and the valuable forests surrounding them. It’s not that simple, wildfire managers say, and the reasons are many, some of them decades in the making. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (Associated Press) — Firefighters battling massive California wildfires say thunderstorms that dropped light rain gave them a little breathing room but lightning sparked several new blazes in the drought-stricken north.

Storms rolling through Thursday night and Friday dumped up to a half-inch of rain over portions of the Dixie Fire in the Sierra Nevada.

The Dixie Fire is the second-largest fire in state history. Firefighters say the wet vegetation will slow its progress for a couple of days until things begin heating up and drying out again.

Meanwhile, lightning strikes ignited at least 17 new fires, although most were tiny. More than 13,000 firefighters are working to rein in 13 major blazes across the state.

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