Governor declares state of emergency amid stubborn Northern California wildfire

A Boeing 747-400 Super Tanker makes a retardant drop at the Ponderosa Fire in Butte County

The Ponderosa Fire in Butte County is 10 percent contained, burning across 3,507 acres on Thursday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

An evacuation center is set up at the Church of the Nazarene, 2238 Monte Vista Oroville. Ballenger could be charged with unlawfully causing a fire and may face additional enhancements.

"It's unsafe work where they're at", said Capt. Joe Chavez, with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Huge flames are burning on hilltops and smoke is visible for miles around.

Ballenger made his first court appearance in Butte County Superior Court on Friday, District Attorney Michael Ramsey said in a telephone interview. Seven ranches were threatened, and full containment isn't expected for a week.

Cal Fire said on its website that the fire near Oroville had consumed almost 6 square miles (15 square kilometers) and was 30 percent contained.

Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the wildfire in rural Northern California that has forced the evacuation of 2,500 homes.

The fire has burned in priority habitat for greater sage-grouse.

The world's newest and largest aerial firefighting tanker, that is housed in Colorado Springs, went into action Wednesday night.

One of the scores of wildfires burning from California to Montana temporarily shut down the main travel route to the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Reno. It's still threatening 500 homes.

Fires also burned near Yosemite National Park, evacuating nearby towns and keeping a popular road into the park shut down.

Firefighters say the wildfire has burned 60 acres (24 hectares) of steep terrain covered by pine trees and brush.

He added it was hoped firefighters could make good progress Wednesday on the Ponderosa Fire so "we won't have to increase anymore warnings or orders and hopefully at some point we can start talking about repopulation and getting folks back in their homes".

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