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California Wildfires Persist as Shasta County Declared Disaster Area

The Trump administration declared Shasta County, CA, a disaster area to help mitigate the impact of the relentless Carr fire, which was 41% contained over the weekend and entered its third week.

The presidential disaster designation makes Shasta County eligible for various support, including housing assistance, food aid, unemployment assistance, counseling, medical services and legal help.

Gov. Jerry Brown has requested expedited presidential disaster designations for three additional counties -- Lake, Mendocino and Napa.

"This is part of a trend -- a new normal -- that we've got to deal with," Brown said.

Brown and state and local fire officials gathered to assess progress on the efforts of 14,000 firefighters from California and 17 other states that continued to battle 17 separate wildfires. The fires have collectively consumed 450,000 acres statewide.

Last Thursday, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) established base camps in Lakeport and Redding, CA, the former to better respond to the Mendocino Complex fire, which expanded to more than 230,000 acres over the weekend, becoming the largest one now burning and moving toward becoming the largest in state history.

"The additional base camps give the company a forward presence in impacted communities to improve the speed of response and restoration and allows effective coordination with first responders," a PG&E spokesperson said. The camps also provide lodging, showers and meals to more than 500 employees.

With the size and longevity of the Carr and Mendocino Complex fires, PG&E has reached out for help from other utilities in California and throughout the West. Nine different organizations have provided more than 100 workers who are interspersed with PG&E crews.

California officials noted that PG&E and other utilities from the state last year provided support in the aftermath of the major hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico.

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