A Cal Fire truck is driven away from flames as the Rocky fire burns near Clear Lake, California on August 2, 2015.AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON
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Thousands of firefighters on Sunday battled raging wildfires across swathes of parched California that forced residents to evacuate and shut miles of highway after claiming the life of a fireman.Some 6,000 homes were evacuated as 21 large fires burned in the bone-dry western US state, which is in the throes of a historic drought. Dry lightning strikes sparked most of the fires, while the causes of others remained unknown.Thousands of lightning bolts since Thursday caused hundreds of smaller fires throughout the state, but most of the blazes were concentrated in the north, California fire chiefs said.CAL FIRE said the Rocky Fire had grown to 46,000 acres and was only five percent contained.Wildfires are a fact of life in much of California, but were far worse than usual this year because of bone-dry conditions, with the state gripped by a fourth year of record drought.
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