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California to hire several hundred firefighters

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California is set to hire several hundred seasonal firefighters to respond to the increase in wildfires across the state.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said Friday that despite the recent rainfall, the state remains stricken by drought conditions that are making wildfires much more likely.

CalFire director Chief Ken Pimlott said that fire activity has remained 200 percent above average statewide. Between January 1 and March 22, CalFire responded to more than 800 wildfires that charred 2,300 acres. In a typical year, Berlant says, the agency responds to fewer than 275 fires damaging an average of 1,000 acres.

Berlant says about 100 seasonal firefighters will begin work Monday in Northern California as well as several hundred elsewhere in the state.

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