Capitol Alert

California fires lead Gov. Brown to call state of emergency

The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District responds to a 430-acre grass fire in the Elverta area, Monday, July 27, 2015.
The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District responds to a 430-acre grass fire in the Elverta area, Monday, July 27, 2015. lsterling@sacbee.com

Gov. Jerry Brown has called a state of emergency across the state in response to wildfires engulfing parts of drought-stricken California.

This summer fire season has been particularly intense, with a series of blazes such as the Rocky fire in Lake County and the Wragg fire near Lake Berryessa consuming thousands of acres and leaving firefighters scrambling.

“California’s severe drought and extreme weather have turned much of the state into a tinderbox,” Brown said in a Friday statement. “Our courageous firefighters are on the front lines, and we’ll do everything we can to help them.”

In declaring a state of emergency, Brown mobilized the California National Guard and relaxed some regulations like environmental rules or those governing trespassing on private property.

“It eliminates a lot of the red tape or procedural hurdles you can have when multiple catastrophic incidences are colliding,” said Brad Alexander, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

It also clears California to receive assistance from other states, which Brown’s declaration called necessary because California’s “resources have been significantly committed” to containing blazes.

“It opens that door for us,” Alexander said.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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