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Two found dead in charred car in California wildfire zone

YREKA, CA – At least two people have died in the raging California wildfire that was among several threatening thousands of homes in the western US on Monday

Two bodies were found in a charred vehicle Sunday in the driveway of a home near the remote Klamath River community, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. The names of the victims and other details were not immediately released.

The McKinney fire in northern California near the state border with Oregon has exploded to nearly 87 square miles (225 square kilometers) after it broke out Friday in the Klamath National Forest, fire officials said. This is California’s largest wildfire of the year so far, and authorities have yet to determine the cause.

Gusty winds from a thunderstorm turned the several hundred-acre blaze into a massive blaze, while lightning sparked several smaller fires nearby, including one near the community of Seiad Valley, fire officials said.

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On Monday, heavy rain helped douse the blaze, but it still threatened buildings after burning more than 100, ranging from homes to greenhouses, fire and sheriff’s officials said.

About 2,500 people remain under evacuation orders.

“If you get an order, it means go. This behavior of fire, as you will hear, is incredible. Don’t try to fight it. Don’t try to hold back,” Siskiyou County EMS Director Brian Shanone said at a community meeting Monday night.

Stormy and cloudy weather helped fire crews contain the flames, and bulldozers were able to surround the town of Yreka, fire officials said.

As of Monday, the fire was about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) from the town of about 7,500 residents.

Valerie Linfoot’s son, a fire dispatcher, called her to tell her their family home of three decades in the Klamath River had burned down. Linfoot said her husband had worked as a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service for years, and the family had done everything they could to prepare their house for a wildfire — including installing a metal roof and trimming trees and tall grass around the property.

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“It was as safe as we could make it and it was so dry and so hot and the fire was moving so fast,” Linfoot told the Bay Area News Group. She said her neighbors also lost homes.

“The place is beautiful. And from what I saw, it was just destroyed. It is completely destroyed,” she told the news group.

In northwestern Montana, winds picked up Monday afternoon on a fire burning in forested land west of Flathead Lake, forcing firefighters to ground all aircraft and prompting the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to begin evacuating residents in the northeast corner of the fire.

The fire is producing a lot of smoke, causing visibility problems for aircraft, said Sarah Rouse, a spokeswoman for the fire management team.

The fire, which started Friday afternoon near the town of Elmo on the Flathead Indian Reservation, is 20 square miles (52 square kilometers) in size, fire officials said.

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Idaho’s Moose Fire has burned more than 85 square miles (220 square kilometers) in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, while threatening homes, mining operations and fishing near the town of Salmon. On Monday it was 23%.

And a wildfire raging in northwest Nebraska prompted evacuations and destroyed or damaged several homes near the small town of Gehring. The Carter Canyon fire started Saturday as two separate fires that merged. It was about 30% contained by Monday morning.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Saturday, giving him more flexibility to make decisions about emergency response and recovery efforts and to use federal aid.

Scientists said climate change has made the West warmer and drier over the past three decades and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

The US Forest Service has closed a 110-mile (177-kilometer) stretch of the famous Pacific Crest Trail in northern California and southern Oregon. Sixty hikers in that area were helped to evacuate Saturday, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon, which assisted in the effort.

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Weber reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press reporters Amy Hanson in Helena, Montana; Marjorie Beck in Omaha, Nebraska; and Keith Ridler in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

Two found dead in charred car in California wildfire zone

Source link Two found dead in charred car in California wildfire zone

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