Western wildfires feed on grass brought on by winter rain

OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) – Wildfires driving people from their homes in California and throughout the West have had help from an unlikely source: the rain.

Major winter downpours that pulled the state out of years of drought also brought a layer of grass that early-summer fires are eating up.

Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said Monday it’s the richest grass crop his firefighters have seen in years, and it’s making fires that are faster and hotter, and travel more easily between trees.

Thousands of Californians remain under evacuation orders from north of Sacramento to the Santa Barbara area.

Dozens more blazes were burning in Colorado, Utah and throughout the West.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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