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By Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times

California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for two Northern California counties overwhelmed by wildfires that have burned tens of thousands of acres and hundreds of homes.

The emergency declarations cover El Dorado and Siskiyou counties, which have been ravaged by the King and Boles fires, respectively.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday granted a request for aid that can cover up to 75 percent of the state’s costs to fight the King fire; federal aid already had been approved for the Boles fire, as well as the Courtney fire in Madera County.

Combined, the three fires have burned nearly 100,000 acres.

The most destructive in terms of damage to property has been the Boles fire, which erupted late Monday and quickly tore through the logging town of Weed, just west of Mt. Shasta. The fire damaged or destroyed more than 150 structures, including churches, a library, and the town’s sawmill. About 2,000 homes and other buildings remain threatened by the blaze, which was 65 percent contained Thursday.

The fast-moving King fire in El Dorado County, meanwhile, exploded in size overnight, from 27,930 acres to nearly 71,000 acres. More than 2,000 homes and 1,500 other buildings were threatened by the blaze, which was just 5 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. More than 3,300 firefighters have been assigned to the blaze.

In Madera County, the 320-acre Courtney fire has destroyed 30 homes, 19 outbuildings, and 13 vehicles. It was 70 percent contained as of Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, the state’s largest fire continues to be the Happy Camp Complex fire in Klamath National Forest. The fire, which began Aug. 12 and has burned more than 125,000 acres, is 68 percent contained, the U.S. Forest Service reported.

That blaze is made up of 15 fires, all of which were sparked by lightning.

Photo: Steve Rhodes via Flickr

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