An additional 1,000 homes were evacuated Wednesday in northern California's Butte County in what has become the state's top priority wildfire. That brings the total to 4,800 homes evacuated, including the towns of Concow and Camelot.
The Red Cross expanded its network of shelters in response and is now operating four in Chico and Oroville. Two were full by Wednesday afternoon.
The temperature in Chico peaked at 108 degrees Wednesday, which fell short of the record for the date of 112, set in 1910. But it was plenty hot enough to make the experience of fighting the fire and fleeing it unbearable.
At least 50 homes have been lost to the complex of fires, which began as 41 separate blazes. Some were extinguished while others merged. There now are 14 active fires.
The fires' growing intensity caused state officials to declare the Butte Complex their No. 1 priority of some 360 active fires statewide. As a result, an additional 500 firefighters arrived on scene Wednesday, bringing the total to 2,886.
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