(7.14.08) SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) — Violent thunderstorms brought rain bursts that modestly helped firefighting efforts Sunday, but the downpours also triggered mudslides that complicated California’s unfolding wildfire disaster. Firefighter Steve Hansen rests atop a fire truck during a break from battling the Butte County fire on Saturday. Firefighter Steve Hansen rests atop a fire truck during a break from battling the Butte County fire on Saturday. “If it isn’t fire, it’s flood. If it isn’t fire or flood, it’s the mud,” said Christina Lilienthal, an interagency fire spokeswoman. A “horrendous” amount of precipitation in the Sequoia National Forest dampened the ground, but also caused a creek to flood, cutting off a firefighting crew’s escape route when a road washed out, she said. The firefighters didn’t need the escape route, because fires burning nearby did not threaten them. They moved to higher ground as a precaution against the rising waters, Lilienthal said. Read more

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