Devastating wildfires a "new normal" for California, Gov. Jerry Brown says

LAKEPORT, Calif.  Officials say 20 people who had been reporting missing in California's devastating wildfires are now accounted for. The Carr Fire in Redding killed six people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes, making it the sixth most destructive fire in California history.

The Carr Fire is one of 17 big fires burning throughout the state. Gov. Jerry Brown warned Wednesday that this very busy fire season is "the new normal."

Farther south, the Mendocino Complex Fire is threatening more structures.

Giant flames as high as 40 feet tall roared into a Lake County community, forcing firefighters to take quick action. Crews rallied to save homes, as the fire continued to show just how unpredictable it can be.  

"The winds kicked up, the temperatures kicked up and the humidities went down and then we started getting really erratic fire behavior," said Paul Lowenthal, a spokesman for Cal Fire.

The fast-moving wildfire has already charred 140 square miles, and it's still only 24 percent contained.

In and around Redding to the north, some evacuees were allowed to return to neighborhoods where more than 1,000 homes were torched. Officials have confirmed a sixth person, 61-year-old Daniel Bush, died in that fire.

July was a devastating month for California, and the state has already spent more than a quarter of its firefighting budget for the entire season.

"Over a decade or so, we're going to have more fire, more destructive fire, more billions that will have to be spent on it," said Gov. Jerry Brown. "All that is the new normal that we will have to face."

  • Mireya Villarreal

    Mireya Villarreal is a CBS News correspondent.