At least four people were killed and more than 100 homes, sheds and other buildings were burned in the McKinney fire in California last Friday, officials said. Officials said rain on Sunday and Monday helped firefighters douse the blaze, but the blaze could not be contained.
On Monday, search teams found two bodies in two different homes along Route 96, raising the death toll to four, officials said.
Earlier on Sunday, two bodies were found inside a charred vehicle in the driveway of a home west of Yereka near the small unincorporated community of Klamath River, causing major damage, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Other details were not immediately disclosed.
Mike Lindberry, a spokesman for the fire incident management team, said Tuesday, “It’s really sad when fires pick up and move so fast and basically take a community out. And that’s what in the Klamath River area.” Happened.” “And unfortunately it not only took one community out, it took two lives.”
The fire has burned more than 55,000 acres in Northern California near the state line with Oregon, and is the largest of several wildfires burning in the Klamath National Forest. A small fire near the small community of Happy Camp forced evacuations and road closures as it spiraled out of control on Tuesday. More fires are still raging in the western US, threatening thousands of homes.
When ashes began to fall and his throat was burning with smoke, Franklin Thom decided it was time to leave the small town where he had grown up on the edge of a national forest in California.
He made it to a shelter with his daughter and just his medicine, some clothes and his shower shoes. Unlike some others, he was told that he had survived the biggest fire of the year in California and that his home in Yereka was still standing.
“Stay out your prayers for us,” said Thom, 55.
In northwestern Montana, a fire Friday near the town of Elmo on the Flathead Indian Reservation has burned down some structures, but officials said they didn’t immediately know if there were any homes. Fire officials said the fire covered 25 square miles on Tuesday, with 10% under control. Some residents were forced to flee on Monday as strong afternoon winds ignited the fire.
The Moose Fire in Idaho has burned more than 85 square miles in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, while the salmon are threatening homes, mining operations and fisheries near the city. According to the National Interagency Coordination Centre, it was 23% on Tuesday.
And a wildfire that raged in northwestern Nebraska evacuated and destroyed or damaged many homes near the small town of Gering. The Carter Canyon Fire began as a merger of two separate fires on Saturday. It was contained over 30% as of Tuesday.
California’s McKinney Fire became the state’s largest wildfire so far this year, as it was fed by weekend winds gusts up to 50 mph.
Cloudy skies and sporadic rain continued to help firefighters on Tuesday as bulldozers managed to engulf the small and scenic tourist resort town of Yereka in flames. Fire officials said other firefighters in steep, bumpy areas have also made progress.
The fire was about 4 miles from the city of Yereka, which had a population of about 7,500.
“We’ve got the weather,” said U.S. Forest Service Incident Fire Commander Todd Mack. “We’ve got horsepower. And we’re going after it.”
But there were also several smaller fires near the McKinney Fire that were struck by lightning over the weekend. And despite the much-needed moisture, the region’s forests and fields remained bone-dry.
Paisley Bamberg, 33, was among those awaiting fire at a shelter in Yereka on Monday. She had moved from West Columbia, South Carolina, a few months ago, and was living in a motel with her six children, ranging in age from 15 to 15. 1-year-old twins, when asked to evacuate.
“I started throwing everything on top of my truck,” but I had to leave a lot of things behind, she said.
Bamberg said she had just been hired at an Arby’s restaurant and was wondering if she would survive the fire.
“There’s not much that can happen when we get back,” she said. “I don’t know if I have a job. The kids were supposed to start school and I don’t know if the school is standing still.”
Bamberg said: “I’m trying to keep my spirits up. I have six little humans who depend on me. I can’t break or falter.”
About 2,500 people were under evacuation orders but Thom said he knew many remained in Yereka.
“There are still a lot of people in the city, people who refused to go,” he said. “A lot of people who don’t have vehicles and can’t go. It’s really sad.”
Thom has lived in Yereka for the rest of his life, but he said it was the first time he had been threatened by a wildfire.
“I never thought that would ever happen,” he said. ‘I thought, ‘We are invincible.’ …it’s making me a liar.”
Climate change has made the West hotter and drier over the past three decades and will make the weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive, scientists have said.
The US Forest Service closed a 110-mile section of the famous Pacific Crest Trail in northern California and southern Oregon. According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon, officers helped evacuate 60 pedestrians in that area on Saturday.