SHAVER LAKE, Calif. (AP) – Helicopter rescuers rescued more people from California wildfires Tuesday after a holiday weekend where more than 200 people were rescued by air and power was shut off. 172,000 users to prevent more fires.

Three helicopter flights in the early hours of the morning took three more people out of the Sierra National Forest, the California National Guard said.

California has already set a record this year with 809,000 hectares (2 million acres) burned and the worst of the wildfire season is just beginning. The previous mark was two years old and included the deadliest fire in state history, which swept through the Paradise community and killed 85 people.

That incident was initiated by power lines amid strong winds and extremely dry conditions. Billions of dollars of liability in claims for that and other fires forced Pacific Gas & Electric Company to file for bankruptcy protection. To protect itself from further disasters, the company last year began using preventative blackouts when fire conditions are exceptionally dangerous.

That’s the situation now in Northern California, where strong, dry winds are expected through Wednesday. PG&E; It said it had learned a lesson from past problems and will try this year to make the outages « smaller in magnitude, shorter and smarter for users. »

More than 14,000 firefighters battle more than twenty fires in the state. Two of the largest fires in California history burn in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In the south of the state fires were burning in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. The National Forest Service decided to close all eight national forests in the region and camping areas throughout the state.


Weber reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press journalists Frank Baker and John Antczak contributed in Los Angeles.