Northern California wildfire grows, closes 2 highways

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Firefighter Killed as Thousands Battle California Wildfires

n">A raging wildfire along northern California's inland coastal range has now burned about 47,000 acres (18,615 hectares) and forced the closure of two highways, officials said on Sunday, while a blaze near the Oregon border also expanded a day after it killed a firefighter.

The Rocky Fire in Lake County north of San Francisco has grown in size by about 20,000 acres (8,094 hectares) since Saturday, according to Cal Fire, a state website for fire information.

"This is a very fast-moving wildfire," Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said on Sunday. "With a five-hour period last night 20,000 acres burned and that is unprecedented growth in that short amount of time."

The fire has closed parts of Highway 20 and Highway 16, destroyed 24 homes and 26 more outbuildings, and threatens an additional 6,301 structures, according to Cal Fire.

See photos of the blazes:

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Lake County, California 'Rocky Fire' wildfires
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Northern California wildfire grows, closes 2 highways
A firefighter lights a backfire as the Rocky Fire burns near Clearlake, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. The fire has charred more than 60,000 acres and destroyed at least 24 residences. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)
CLEARLAKE, CA - AUGUST 03: A Cal Fire firefighter is silhouetted by his headlamp as he monitors a backfire while battling the Rocky Fire on August 3, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Nearly 3,000 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has burned over 60,000 acres has forced the evacuation of 12,000 residents in Lake County. The fire is currently 12 percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. 6,300 homes are threatened by the fast moving blaze. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Flames rise from a wildfire near Clearlake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Officials called for evacuations Monday as numerous homes were threatened by the flames. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)
James Logan and his wife Lisa embrace during a community meeting for evacuees as a wildfire burns near Clearlake, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. Firefighters made some progress Tuesday afternoon with some help from light rain that fell in the area. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)
Volunteers who declined to give their names react as a Sheriff informs evacuees that they will need to leave The Moose Lodge in Clearlake Oaks, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. The Rocky fire continues to burn and has charred more than 65,000 acres and destroyed 24 residences. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)
A firefighter watches a backfire as the Rocky Fire burns near Clearlake, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. The fire has charred more than 60,000 acres and destroyed at least 24 residences. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)
CLEARLAKE, CA - AUGUST 03: A Cal Fire firefighter walks by burned out trees during a backfire operation to head off the Rocky Fire on August 3, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Nearly 3,000 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has burned over 60,000 acres has forced the evacuation of 12,000 residents in Lake County. The fire is currently 12 percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. 6,300 homes are threatened by the fast moving blaze. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CLEARLAKE, CA - AUGUST 03: A Cal Fire firefighter moves away from a tall flame as he uses a drip torch to burn dry grass during a backfire operation to head off the Rocky Fire on August 3, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Nearly 3,000 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has burned over 60,000 acres has forced the evacuation of 12,000 residents in Lake County. The fire is currently 12 percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. 6,300 homes are threatened by the fast moving blaze. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CLEARLAKE, CA - AUGUST 03: A Long Beach Fire Department fire captain uses a flare to burn dry grass during a backfire operation to head off the Rocky Fire on August 3, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Nearly 3,000 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has burned over 60,000 acres has forced the evacuation of 12,000 residents in Lake County. The fire is currently 12 percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. 6,300 homes are threatened by the fast moving blaze. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A vehicle burned in the Rocky Fire is shown near Lower Lake, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. Firefighters made some progress Tuesday afternoon with some help from light rain that fell in the area. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Arnold, of the Long Beach Fire Department, douses flames from a wildfire near Clearlake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Officials called for evacuations Monday as numerous homes were threatened by the flames. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)
Andrew Mehr, of the Long Beach Fire Department, looks on as flames from the Rocky fire approach near Clearlake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Officials called for evacuations Monday as numerous homes were threatened by the flames. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)
Firefighter Joe Darr douses flames of the Rocky fire along Highway 20 near Clearlake, California on August 2, 2015. Thousands of firefighters battled raging wildfires on August 2 in drought-parched California, where officials evacuated entire neighborhoods and closed miles of highway in the path of the inferno, which has claimed at least one life. AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Cal Fire firefighters watch a back burn while fighting the Rocky fire off highway 20 near Clear Lake, California on August 2, 2015. The fire has charred more than 27,000 acres, and is currently only 5% contained. (Photo credit Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Brush and trees burn during the Rocky fire off highway 20 near Clear Lake, California on August 2, 2015. The fire has charred more than 27,000 acres, and is currently only 5% contained. (Photo credit Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
A Cal Fire firefighter leads a group of inmate firefighters during a burn operation to head off the Rocky Fire on August 2, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Over 1,900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has burned over 46,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Inmate firefighters march along highway 20 as they monitor a burn operation to head off the Rocky Fire on August 2, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Over 1,900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has burned over 46,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A Cal Fire truck is driven away from flames as the Rocky fire burns near Clear Lake, California on August 2, 2015. The fire has charred more than 27,000 acres, and is currently only 5% contained. (Photo credit Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Cal Fire firefighters watch a large plume of smoke as it rises from the Rocky Fire on August 1, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Over 1,900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that burned over 22,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Oceanside Fire Department captain Greg DeAvila monitors a burn operation to head off the Rocky Fire on August 2, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Over 1,900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has burned over 46,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Inmate firefighters monitor a burn operation to head off the Rocky Fire on August 2, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Over 1,900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has burned over 46,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
In this long exposure, lights from a car streaks by as flames and a huge plume of smoke rise into the air as the Rocky fire burns near Clear Lake, California on August 2, 2015. The fire has charred more than 27,000 acres, and is currently only 5% contained. (Photo credit Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Cal Fire firefighters monitor a backfire ahead of the Rocky Fire on August 2, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Over 1,900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that burned over 22,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Firefighter Joe Darr douses flames of the Rocky fire along Highway 20 near Clearlake, California on August 2, 2015. Thousands of firefighters battled raging wildfires on August 2 in drought-parched California, where officials evacuated entire neighborhoods and closed miles of highway in the path of the inferno, which has claimed at least one life. (Photo credit Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
The Rocky fire burns near Clear Lake, California on August 2, 2015. The fire has charred more than 27,000 acres, and is currently only 5% contained. (Photo credit Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighter Joe Darr douses flames of the Rocky fire along Highway 20 near Clearlake, California on August 2, 2015. Thousands of firefighters battled raging wildfires on August 2 in drought-parched California, where officials evacuated entire neighborhoods and closed miles of highway in the path of the inferno, which has claimed at least one life. (Photo credit Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Oceanside Fire Department captain Greg DeAvila shoots a flare into dry brush during a burn operation to head off the Rocky Fire on August 2, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Over 1,900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that has burned over 46,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A large plume of smoke rises from the Rocky Fire on August 1, 2015 near Clearlake, California. Over 1,900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that burned over 22,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed at least 14 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Goats run away from their pen after firefighters freed them as the Rocky Fire approaches on July 31, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 15,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Flames from the Rocky Fire approach a house on July 31, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 15,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A firefighter monitors flames from the Rocky Fire as it approaches a home on July 31, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 15,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed 3 homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Firefighters spray a hose at a fire along Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif., Friday, July 31, 2015. A series of wildfires were intensified by dry vegetation, triple-digit temperatures and gusting winds. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Flames from the Rocky Fire approach a house on July 31, 2015 in Lower Lake, California. Over 900 firefighters are battling the Rocky Fire that erupted to over 15,000 acres since it started on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is currently five percent contained and has destroyed three homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Burned trees are seen along a dirt road near where homes were lost as a result of the Rocky fire near Clear lake, California on August 02, 2015. Thousands of firefighters battled raging wildfires Sunday in drought-parched California, where officials evacuated entire neighborhoods and closed miles of highway in the path of the inferno, which has claimed at least one life. 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. A total of 121,000 acres (49,000 hectares of land have burned so far, according to figures provided by the state. (Photo credit Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Burned signs are shown on a road near Lower Lake, Calif., Friday, July 31, 2015. A series of wildfires were intensified by dry vegetation, triple-digit temperatures and gusting winds. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Firefighters tend to a back fire operation at left under smoke from fires along Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif., Friday, July 31, 2015. A series of wildfires were intensified by dry vegetation, triple-digit temperatures and gusting winds. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
An air tanker drops a load of fire retardant while fighting a large grass fire, Monday, July 27, 2015, in Elverta, Calif. Firefighters from multiple agencies, with at least a dozen fire engines, several aerial tankers and helicopters battled the flames that burned at least 75 acres and threatened dozens of homes in the suburban community just north of Sacramento. No injuries or cause of the fire have been reported. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Firefighters water down a hot spot while fighting a large grass fire, Monday, July 27, 2015, in Elverta,Calif. Firefighters from multiple agencies, with at least a dozen fire engines, several aerial tankers and helicopters battled the flames that burned at least 75 acres and threatened dozens of homes in the suburban community just north of Sacramento. No injuries or cause of the fire have been reported. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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Nearly 2,000 firefighters are battling the fire, which broke out on Wednesday and is only 5 percent contained, the same percentage as on Saturday, according to the website. About 12,000 people have been evacuated or are under evacuation advisories.

Drought-stricken brush and grasslands have made parts of California vulnerable to wildfires and dozens are now burning throughout the state.

Among numerous fires is the Frog fire, which officials said killed a firefighter on Thursday. David Ruhl, 38, a married father of two from Rapid City, South Dakota, died while assigned to the fire in the Modoc National Forest near California's border with Oregon.

Ruhl was alone and working as incident commander on the fire, said Modoc National Forest spokesman Ken Sandusky. It is common for a leader on a fire to travel alone, Sandusky said, but he declined to release more details on the death.

The Frog Fire, which is about 4 percent contained, has grown to 3,900 acres (1,214 hectares) and erratic winds have pushed it in all directions, according to the U.S. Forest Service's InciWeb online fire information center.

A red-flag warning, designating the threat of gusty winds that risk fanning flames, was expected to remain in effect until late Sunday in the area of the Frog Fire. InciWeb said the flames are not expected to be fully under control until Aug. 12.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Catherine Evans and Andrew Hay)

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