By Peter Fimrite, in

CLEARLAKE, Lake County – Firefighters made a dramatic stand Monday against the massive Rocky Fire, using Highway 20, north of the city of Clearlake, as a natural break to stop the advancing flames, but the largest of more than a dozen blazes in California jumped the highway anyway, forcing state fire officials to scramble for a new strategy.

The wind shifted unexpectedly in the middle of the afternoon, blowing hot embers north over the firefighters’ heads and into the dry grasslands. They ignited numerous spot fires, which spread as if shot from a flamethrower, according to fire crew members. Soon, the ridgeline across the highway was engulfed.

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