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Raining Ash and No Rest: Firefighters Struggle to Contain California Wildfires

“I wish I could say the cavalry is coming — it’s not,” Battalion Chief Kirk Van Wormer of Cal Fire, the state firefighting agency, told the gathering of firefighters, flecks of ash raining down on them.

Hundreds of sleep-deprived, stubble-faced firefighters, their yellow coats layered with soot, assembled here Wednesday to hear their commanders say what they already knew: The fires that have devastated California’s wine country were still spreading, nowhere near containment, and the crews battling the blazes were stretched to their limits.


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