Thousands flee, several hurt as wildfire scorches California | Climate Crisis News

Thousands of people remained under evacuation orders on Saturday after a wildfire raged through rural northern California, injuring people and burning several homes.

The fire that started Friday near a wood products factory quickly blew into a neighborhood on Weed’s northern edge but has since swept the flames away from the city of about 2,600 people.

Evacuees described thick smoke and falling ash masses.

Annie Peterson said she was sitting on her porch near Roseburg Forest Products, which makes wooden planks, when “all of a sudden we heard a big bang and all that smoke was just rolling towards us.”

Soon her house and about a dozen others caught on fire. She said members of her church helped evacuate her and her son, who was immobile. She said the sight of smoke and fire looked like “the world is coming to an end”.

Suzi Brady, a spokesman for Cal Fire, said several people were injured.

Allison Hendrickson, a spokeswoman for Dignity Health North State, said two people were taken to Mercy Mount Shasta Medical Center. One was in stable condition and the other was transported to UC Davis Medical Center, where the burn unit is located.

Rebecca Taylor, communications director for Roseburg Forest Products based in Springfield, Oregon, said it’s unclear whether the fire started near or on the company’s property.

A large empty building on the edge of the company property caught fire, she said. All staff were evacuated and no one reported injuries.

The blaze, known as the Mill fire, was propelled by 35mph (56kph) winds and quickly engulfed four square miles (10.3 square kilometers) of ground.

Flames from the McKinney Fire burn through trees along California State Route 96 in the Klamath . National Forest
Flames from the McKinney Fire burn through trees along California Highway 96 in Klamath National Forest, California [File: Noah Berger/AP]

Flames pierced hay, brooms and wood. About 7,500 people around Weed and several neighboring communities were ordered to evacuate.

Deborah Higer, medical director at Shasta View Nursing Center, said all 23 patients at the facility had been evacuated, of which 20 went to a local hospital and three stayed at home, where beds were available. sick.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County and said a federal grant was received “to help ensure the availability of critical resources to extinguish the fires.”

It’s Tuesday big forest fire for days in California, which has been suffering from a prolonged drought and is now sweltering under a heatwave that is expected to push temperatures above 100F (38C) in many areas on Labor Day.

Thousands of people were also ordered to flee Wednesday following a fire in Castaic, north of Los Angeles, and a fire in eastern San Diego County, near the Mexican border, where two people suffered severe burns and several destroyed house. Those fires were 56% and 65% contained, respectively, and all evacuations were lifted.

The heat taxed the state’s electricity grid as people struggled to stay cool. On Wednesdays, residents are asked to save electricity on Saturdays during the late afternoon and evening hours.

The Mill Fire burned about an hour’s drive from the Oregon state line.

The entire region has faced repeated devastating wildfires in recent years. The Mill Fire is only about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of where the McKinney Fire – the state’s deadliest fire of the year – broke out in late July. It killed four people and destroyed dozens of homes.

California Fire
A helicopter crashes while battling the Oak Fire in Mariposa County, California [File: Noah Berger/AP]

Olga Hood fled from her Weed house on Friday as the smoke was billowing over the next hill.

With the infamous winds ripping through the town at the foot of Mount Shasta, she didn’t wait for the order to evacuate. She packed up documents, medication and other things, her granddaughter Cynthia Jones said.

“With the wind in Weed, things like that move quickly. It sucks,” Jones said by phone from her home in Medford, Oregon.

Hood’s nearly three-decade home was saved from fires last year and from the devastating Boles Fire that tore through the town eight years ago, destroying more than 160 buildings, mostly residential.

Climate change has made the western United States warmer and drier over the past three decades and will continue to make weather worse and wildfires more frequent and destructive, scientists say.

Over the past five years, California has experienced the largest and most destructive wildfires in state history.

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