WEED, Calif. — A wind-swept wildfire in rural Northern California tore through a neighborhood and destroyed about 100 homes and other buildings, fire officials said Saturday after at least two people were injured and thousands were forced from their homes.
About 1:01 p.m. on Friday saw the Mill Fire start just north from Weed. Weed is a town of approximately 2,600 inhabitants, located about 250 miles (402 km) north San Francisco. Fires quickly spread to Lincoln Heights, where many homes were set on fire and people had to flee.
Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta was able to transport two individuals. The first was stable and the second was moved to Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta, where there is a burn unit.
Cal Fire Siskiyou Unit chief Phil Anzo explained that the crews had worked tirelessly to defend structures in Weed, and in a nearby subdivision called Carrick Addition.
“There’s a lot at stake on that Mill Fire,” he said. “There’s a lot of communities, a lot of homes there.”
The weather conditions were better overnight, and firefighters were able get 20% control. However, another fire, the Mountain Fire that broke out northwest of Weed, grew significantly. There were no reported injuries and buildings lost to that fire. Investigators continue to investigate the causes of both fires.
Anzo estimates that about 100 houses and other buildings lost during the Mill Fire. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County and said a federal grant had been received “to help ensure the availability of vital resources to suppressthe fire.”
California, which is heading into the most severe fire season in its history is currently experiencing a drought. According to climate scientists, the West has become more hot and dry over the last 30 years. They expect that wildfires will be more destructive and extreme in the future.
California has seen the most severe and destructive fires over the past five decades. Weed saw three major fires in the last five years.
Roseburg Forest Products made wood products. The fire was started near the location of Roseburg Forest Products. 7500 people were evacuated immediately.
Yvasha Hilliard said she was home in Lincoln Heights when she heard “a big boom” and ran outside to see her neighbor’s house on fire.
“It was like fire coming out of the sky,” she said. “It was terrible.”
Hilliard claimed that her house was one of the victims. “We lost everything,” she said.
Annie Peterson said she was sitting on the porch of her home when suddenly “all that smoke was just rolling over toward us.”
The fire quickly spread to her house and a few others. According to her, members of her church assisted her in evacuating her son who was immobile. She said the scene of smoke and flames looked like “the world was coming to an end.”
Shastaview Nursing Center medical director, Dr. Deborah Higer stated that 23 people were evacuated from the Shasta View facility. Twenty-three patients went to the local hospital, and three were at Dr. Deborah Higer’s home. Three stayed there until she set up beds for them.
Rebecca Taylor, Roseburg’s communications director, stated that the large vacant building on the property’s edge was burned. According to Taylor, all employees were evacuated without any injuries.
According to PacifiCorp, around the time that the fire started, there were power outages reported. Some 9,000 customers lost power, while several thousand others were left without power late at night because of the wildfire.
California was experiencing the third largest wildfire within three days. It is now suffering from a heat wave, with temperatures expected to rise above 100°F in some areas by Labor Day.
Also, many were directed to flee Wednesday’s Castaic fire, which is north of Los Angeles. There was also a Castaic fire that engulfed a portion of eastern San Diego County. Two people sustained severe burns and their homes were completely destroyed. All evacuations orders were lifted Friday.
The Mill Fire was burning about an hour’s drive from the Oregon state line. It was only about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of where the McKinney Fire — the state’s deadliest of the year — erupted in late July. The fire claimed the lives of four people, and also destroyed many homes.
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