Oroville man arraigned on charges he started Ponderosa Fire

Western Wildfires

The Ponderosa Fire has destroyed 27 buildings, 20 of them homes, and threatens 1,300 structures.

An evacuation center is set up at the Church of the Nazarene, 2238 Monte Vista Ave.in Oroville.

Also burning to our north is the Tohakum 2 Fire in Nevada, which began with a lightning strike near the site of Burning Man, which briefly closed the main artery into the festival on Sunday.

Firefighters are battling a brush fire just north of Los Angeles that has shut down both sides of a key freeway for holiday weekend travel.

It's being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation.

The blaze is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Burning Man.

Ballenger made his first court appearance in Butte County Superior Court on Friday, District Attorney Michael Ramsey said in a telephone interview.

Interagency fire spokesman John Gaffney says the biggest priority is protecting about a half dozen ranches threatened by the fire that has burned about 45 square miles (116 square kilometers).

Governor Brown said he issued the emergency proclamation for Butte County due to the effects of the Ponderosa Fire which has burned thousands of acres, damaged critical infrastructure, destroyed homes and caused the evacuation of residents. The fire is at 51 percent containment as of Saturday evening.

It was partially contained, but about 500 homes remained in its path. Firefighters have had to bulldoze their own way to get to the tough-to-access blaze, and teams hiked in to cut fire lines in an attempt to contain the fire.

The blaze that began Tuesday near the town of Oroville is among a series of wildfires burning across the U.S. West, including in and around California's Yosemite National Park.

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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