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Fueled by dry brush and heat, wildfire chars 20,000 acres in 5 hours

Fueled by dry brush and heat, wildfire chars 20,000 acres in 5 hours

— It was a stubborn, quick wildfire, but nothing particularly unusual. Dubbed the Rocky fire, it started Wednesday near the shore of Clear Lake, about 110 miles northwest of Sacramento. Since then, a growing number of firefighters had worked in steep, rough terrain to get a handle on the blaze as it continued to grow and threaten rural communities. Then came Saturday. With temperatures climbing into the triple digits and humidity near zero, the fire exploded, charring 20,000 acres in one five-hour stretch that a fire official called "historic, unprecedented." Throughout the night, when wildfires typically lay down in the relative cool, the Rocky fire continued to rage....

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