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DISASTERS

Lightning sparks at least 9 new fires in Northern California

Firefighters rushed to put out nine wildfires that were sparked by lightning in the northeastern corner of California on Sunday as a stubborn blaze to the west in Mendocino County continues to challenge crews.

The new fires in Lassen, Modoc and Shasta counties were not threatening any structures, but crews were trying to contain them so they can "concentrate on the large ones that we still have," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said.

She was referring to a wildfire that was sparked by lightning on July 30 and has burned 13 ½ square miles of dry brush and timber near Laytonville in Mendocino County.

An evacuation order remains in effect as the fire about 160 miles north of San Francisco threatens nearly 60 structures across six communities, CalFire spokesman Brandon Rodgers said.

Eleven firefighters have been injured, including eight on Friday. All suffered minor injuries or burns, officials said.

More than 2,000 firefighters working in steep, rugged terrain have contained 35 percent of the blaze. Officials said the fire could grow because of difficult access to the remote area and changing weather conditions.

"While we've been making some progress, this is a very stubborn fire," Tolmachoff said. "And we're not even close to our peak fire season."

The fire is smaller than the fire that has charred 50 square miles in Shasta County, but CalFire officials said remote and rugged terrain in Mendocino County makes it tougher to fight.

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