AP News in Brief 08-07-18

  • A U.S. Air Force plane drops fire retardant on a burning hillside in the Ranch Fire in Clearlake Oaks, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Northern California blazes now largest in state history

LAKEPORT, Calif. — Twin Northern California blazes fueled by dry vegetation and hot, windy weather grew Monday to become the largest wildfire in state history, becoming the norm as climate change makes the fire season longer and more severe.

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The two fires burning a few miles apart and known as the Mendocino Complex are being treated as one incident. It has scorched 443 square miles, fire officials said Monday.

The fires, north of San Francisco, have burned 75 homes and is only 30 percent contained.

The size of the fires surpasses a blaze last December in Southern California that burned 440.5 square miles. It killed two people, including a firefighter, and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings before being fully contained on Jan. 12.

Hotter weather attributed to climate change is drying out vegetation, creating more intense fires that spread quickly from rural areas to city subdivisions, climate and fire experts say. But they also blame cities and towns that are expanding housing into previously undeveloped areas.

More than 14,000 firefighters are battling over a dozen major blazes throughout California, state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott McLean said.

“I can remember a couple of years ago when we saw 10 to 12,000 firefighters in the states of California, Oregon and Washington and never the 14,000 we see now,” he said.

Trump ups sanctions pressure on Iran despite European dismay

WASHINGTON — The United States reimposed stiff economic sanctions on Iran Monday, ratcheting up pressure on the Islamic Republic despite statements of deep dismay from European allies, three months after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the international accord limiting Iran’s nuclear activities.

Trump declared the landmark 2015 agreement had been “horrible,” leaving the Iranian government flush with cash to fuel conflict in the Middle East.

Iran accused the U.S. of reneging on the nuclear agreement, signed by the Obama administration, and of causing recent Iranian economic unrest. European allies said they “deeply regret” the U.S. action.

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Trump said in a statement, “We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.”

By wire sources