LAKEPORT, Calif. – The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):
Authorities say three men tending to a marijuana grow were arrested after they refused to leave a fire evacuation zone in Northern California, hindering firefighters' efforts against a massive blaze.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office says deputies on Saturday found the men watering a marijuana crop about 20 yards (18 meters) from the fire line.
The office says firefighters had to divert three very large air tanker passes as they worked to stop the fire from reaching the town of Lucerne because the "hostile" men wouldn't leave. They called authorities.
It says 59-year-old Steven Bell, 29-year-old Travis Bell and 41-year-old Gary Wertheimer were arrested on suspicion of interfering with firefighters and not having authorization to be in an evacuation zone.
They were released with citations.
The Army is sending 200 active-duty soldiers to help battle wildfires in the Western U.S.
The National Interagency Fire Center said Monday the soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, will get three days of training starting on Thursday and will all be deployed to the same fire. The fire hasn't been chosen.
The fire center requested the soldiers from the Defense Department, which agreed to send them.
More than 127 wildfires are burning in 11 Western states, taxing civilian resources. At least three states have mobilized National Guard troops to help, and five military aircraft are assisting.
The fire center says active-duty personnel have been mobilized to help firefighters 37 times since 1987, most recently in September.
Twin wildfires fueled by dry vegetation and hot, windy weather have continued to grow in Northern California.
California fire officials said Monday that the two fires about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of San Francisco were 30 percent contained and have scorched 428 square miles (1,108 square kilometers).
The two fires are burning about 14 miles (22 kilometers) apart and have destroyed 75 homes. Another 9,000 buildings are threatened.
The two fires cover an area larger than a deadly wildfire burning near Redding, California.
That blaze has killed two firefighters and five civilians and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.
The wildfire started two weeks ago by sparks from the steel wheel of a towed-trailer's flat tire. It is 45 percent contained.