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With 14,000 firefighters battling 18 major California brands

SAN FRANCISCO – about 14,000 firefighters, including inmate volunteers, fighting 18 great brands burn thousands of square kilometers in California with aircraft, several vehicles, and pick and shovel.

They aim for the largest forest fires in two ways, and in much the same way that the Department of Forestry and fire protection for decades. They go on with water and retardant where they can.

And when they can’t take that direct approach, firefighters to retreat on a mountain ridge, broad road or stream, where they use bulldozers to create a “fire line.” There they will wait until the flames come to them while the lighting “backfires” to clear the vegetation between the fire line and the approaching eruption.

Experts say which approach Cal Fire takes, California firefighters are often more aggressive in trying to put out forest fires than that in other, less densely populated states. That is because of California forest fires are increasingly threatening vast urban areas.

“Cal Fire is really an urban fire service in the forest,” said the Arizona State University life sciences professor Stephen Pyne, a wildfire management expert.

Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean said firefighters use of both approaches to the battle of the big brands, including the growing twins burning about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

Dennis said firefighters are using the direct approach to prevent the fire from reaching the urban areas along Clear Lake while relaxing in the national forests “and letting the fire come to us.”

That two fires grew to a combined 443 square miles (1,148 sq km), the state’s largest wildfire.

McLean and fire experts say that it is impossible to be around fire, a fire that large, especially with 17 other large fires that are the focus of attention in the state.

“We build lines. Picking and choosing where we think we take a position,” McLean said. “The attack where we can, and to wait and to let it come to us if needed.”

Dennis said firefighters are using the immediate resources to avoid the twin fires of the reach of evacuated urban areas on the east side of Clear Lake. At the same time, firefighters have pulled back in the uninhabited national forests to the north, where they cut fire lines and are in the service of indirect methods.

Experts say that the best way to fight against this devastating forest fires to prevent them in the first place in the construction of homes and other buildings.

“It is the embers, not the fire itself, that destroy the most houses,” said Steve Conboy, a construction expert whose company develops fire-resistant chemicals for use on wood.

In the meantime, Gov. Jerry Brown and other state officials warned that the state is expected to be the record-breaking forest fires. Drought, warmer weather and other factors combined to start the wildfire season earlier, and the glows more destructive.

“We are in uncharted territory,” the governor said last week. “Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, that we still have not had this kind of heat condition, and it will continue and get worse. That is the way it is.”

Fire fighting costs have more than tripled from $242 million in 2013 fiscal year to $773 million in the 2018 fiscal year that ended on 30 June, according to Cal Fire.

“In the past few decades, we have seen, a fire that we see now, in August or September,” Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said in a press conference last week. “We are routinely now see burning reach of 100,000 acres, several times in a month, and it is only in July, so we still have a long way to go in the fire season, and as we saw last year, fire season can go until December.”

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