(TNS) - It’s day 11 for Omar Estorga on the front lines of California’s firestorm.
Some nights, the captain and his crew have slept — sitting up — in the seats of their fire engine as the Carr fire raged. Other nights, they’ve stayed at the base camp in Shasta County. On their days off, they’ve snagged dorm rooms at Shasta College or, if they’re lucky, a hotel room when another fire crew has checked out.
As some 14,000 firefighters wrap up their second week battling more than a dozen destructive wildfires across the state, fatigue is setting but the fires show few signs of letting up.
To the south, the sprawling Mendocino Complex inferno on Monday became the largest fire ever recorded in California, burning more than 283,000 acres in just 11 days. The Ferguson fire has closed parts of Yosemite National Park indefinitely. Large swaths of the Sacramento Valley have been choked by smoke for days.
While the Carr fire in Redding is easing after destroying more than 1,000 homes and killing seven people, new fires brought threats elsewhere. In the Cleveland National Forest, a fire exploded amid hot conditions in Southern California, quickly burning 4,000 acres and creating ominous smoke visible as far away as Avalon on Catalina Island. And in Stanislaus National Forest, a fast-moving fire burned down the historic Dardanelle Resort, which had stood for nearly 100 years.
For Estorga, the conditions mean he can’t tell his family when he’s coming home.