Firefighters battling 21 wildfires across drought-stricken California

A brush fire rapidly spreads next to the 15 Freeway in the Cajon Pass on Friday, July 17, 2015. (KABC)

Firefighters across California are being stretched thin as 21 wildfires burn throughout the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for California. Some federal help is on the way as the state has secured a grant from FEMA to offset the costs of fighting the fires.

More than 9,000 firefighters are working all over the drought-stricken state to quell the fast-moving wildfires.

One of the blazes that broke out in Modoc County claimed the life of a U.S. Forest Service firefighter.

In Southern California, a California Highway Patrol officer sustained serious burns in a brush fire near the Cajon Pass, which was started by exploding oxygen tanks.

Earlier in July, a fast-moving blaze in the same location charred 3,500 acres, along with dozens of homes and cars abandoned on the 15 Freeway.

ABC7 viewer Jaime Ramos sent in this photo of burnt cars on the 15 Freeway in the aftermath of the North Fire on Friday, July 17, 2015.


A blaze erupted in Ventura County Sunday afternoon in the Los Padres National Forest, burning 250 acres. More than 1,000 firefighters were deployed to fight the fire. Two nearby campgrounds were evacuated and Highway 33 was shut down.

Thunder and lightning storms have also sparked wildfires in areas filled with dry brush. About 600 firefighters were working to put out as many as 18 small fires sparked by lightning strikes in Humboldt County.

Firefighters are also battling a blaze dubbed the Willow Fire in the Sierra National Forest. Crews have contained 50 percent of the blaze that has ripped through more than 5,000 acres.

The largest fire burning in California is the Rocky Fire in Lake County, which has burned 54,000 acres and is only 5 percent contained. The blaze is now larger than the city of Oakland.

Another blaze called the Wragg Fire, which is burning in Napa and Solano counties near Lake Berryessa, is 95 percent contained. It scorched more than 8,000 acres since it started in mid-July.

The Associated Press and KGO-TV contributed to this report.

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