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Extreme Heat Returns to California, Hampering Firefighting Efforts

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Just when firefighters thought they were beating the 330 wildfires that continue burning in California…the weather has turned against them. From Sacramento Steve Shadley reports.

Afternoon temperatures will be in the low 100s in many parts of California this week--allowing fires to spread faster. There's also a chance of more dry lightning which is blamed for starting the more than 1,500 fires across the state last week. The hot, dry weather puts firefighters at a higher risk for heat stroke and other illnesses. David Boyd is an information officer at a joint wildfire headquarters in Redding for CAL FIRE and the U.S. Forest Service.

Boyd: We have over 20,000 firefighters now working these wildfires in California. And they're coming from all over the country, 41 states in all, and some are experienced working in this extremely hot weather and others aren't.

Firefighters are encouraged to drink one to two quarts of water each hour to prevent heat related sickness. Officials say heat stroke is the most common problem that causes firefighters to stop work and seek medical treatment.

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