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Lightning storms cause four fires in rural northeastern California

by Alayna Shulman, Redding Record-Searchlight |

This week's lightning storms created several fires in the Modoc National Forest in remote northeastern California. Officials have named them collectively as the July Complex.

They're burning a combined 15,440 acres because of "extreme fire behavior," Cal Fire officials said. The complex includes the Caldwell Fire, a 13,125-acre blaze near Caldwell Butte southeast of Lava Beds National Monument It had no containment as of Sunday.

The fire's smoke plume is so large that it's visible for miles, U.S. Forest Service officials said. Lava Beds and Forest Service roads were closed Thursday as winds pushed the fire to the west and south.

The Dalton Fire has burned 1,367 acres with no containment, while the Allen Fire has charred 948 acres and is 60 percent contained.

In nearby Lassen County, the Gold Fire has already destroyed eight structures and grew another 643 overnight Saturday. The fire is now estimated to be 21,870 acres, with containment at 45 percent.

Firefighters continued to make progress on containment lines around the Hog Fire in southern Lassen County.

The 9,545-acre stayed the same size from Saturday to Sunday, while containment grew to 52 percent.