Firefighters Are Advancing on a Blaze that Has Forced the Closure of a California Highway
Firefighters were making headway on a wildfire that jumped a Southern California roadway and spread across dry hillsides, while residents of a Northern California neighborhood were forced to evacuate due to a new blaze.
The fire broke out near Castaic in northern Los Angeles County on Saturday afternoon. The blaze burned through tinder-dry vegetation and jumped across the busy motorway, spreading across more than a half-mile, pushed by 10-15mph (16-24 kph) winds.
Air tankers splashed bright-orange retardant on the fires, forcing the California Highway Patrol to close a portion of the freeway for several hours. The CHP stated that thick smoke was moving across motorway lanes due to a big flare-up on Sunday afternoon.
According to Andrew Mitchell, a spokesman for the Angeles National Forest, two firemen were brought to the hospital with burn injuries. Officials said the fire was about 63 percent controlled on Sunday, and that firefighters made progress overnight with the support of water-dropping planes and a strong ground attack.
He said employees would use the start of a cooling trend on Sunday to construct containment lines. The cause of the fire is being looked into.
Meanwhile, Mendocino County authorities ordered the evacuation of areas of Calpella, a town on the Russian River approximately 6 miles north of Ukiah, due to a fire that broke out Sunday afternoon. The fire is moving towards Lake Mendocino, according to video footage shared on Twitter.
Residents of a mountain community south of Lake Tahoe that was ravaged by the massive Caldor Fire will be allowed to return on Sunday to survey the damage. In the early days of the month-long fire, the majority of Grizzly Flat’s residences, as well as the school, post office, church, and fire station, were destroyed. As containment of the 342-square-mile (886-square-kilometer) wildfire improved to 65 percent, evacuation orders for residences along State Route 50 were also withdrawn.
Late Sunday, President Joe Biden declared El Dorado County a disaster to offer federal funding to state, tribal, and qualified local governments, as well as some private nonprofit organizations, that have been impacted by the Caldor Fire.
When thunderstorms stormed across the state Thursday night and Friday, firefighters were diverted from tackling the wildfire to tackle other nighttime lighting fires. The thunderstorms brought modest rain to the drought-stricken north, according to fire officials.
The Dixie Fire, which started in mid-July and has burnt through large sections of the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades, received up to a half-inch of rain. Fire officials, on the other hand, claimed the rain is drying quickly and the vegetation is becoming more flammable.
The second-largest fire in California history has scorched over 1,500 square miles of land, destroying over 1,300 homes and other structures. It had been contained to a degree of 65 percent.