Lightning sparks major wildfires in wine country

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June 23, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Hundreds of wildfires sparked by lightning are flaring across the heart of wine country and remote forests in Northern California.

One had spread across nearly 6 square miles by early Sunday after starting the previous afternoon in Napa County and was quickly moving into a mostly rural area of Solano County.

The fire is threatening more than 100 buildings as it feeds on grassy woodland about 40 miles southwest of Sacramento. It was 35 percent contained Sunday evening and had destroyed one home.

Wildfires have destroyed more than 175 homes in Northern California so far this year. Blazes started popping up in the region just as California's unofficial fire season began in mid-May, following the state's driest two-month period on record.

South of San Francisco, a fire that destroyed homes and closed a stretch of highway was fully contained after charring just less than a square mile. It was the third major blaze to hit Santa Cruz County in the past month.

(Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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