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A windswept wildfire in rural northern California swept through a neighborhood, destroying about 100 homes and other structures
Firefighters said Saturday that at least two people were injured and thousands were forced to flee their homes.
The mill fire broke out just before 1 p.m. from San Francisco. The flames quickly reached the Lincoln Heights neighborhood, where a significant number of homes burned down and residents fled for their lives.
Two people were taken to Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta. One was in stable condition and the other was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, which has a burns department.
Cal Fire Siskiyou Unit Chief Phil Anzo said crews were working day and night to protect structures in Weed and in a subdivision to the east known as Carrick Addition.
“The stakes are high in Mill Fire,” he said. There are many churches there, many houses.
Weather conditions improved overnight and firefighters were able to contain 20%, but another fire, the Mountain Fire, which broke out northwest of Weed Friday, grew significantly. There were no casualties or buildings reported lost in this fire. The causes of both fires are being investigated.
Anzo estimated that around 100 houses and other buildings were destroyed in the mill fire. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County and said a federal grant was received “to ensure the availability of vital firefighting resources.
California is in a deep drought as it heads into what has traditionally been its worst fire season. Scientists say climate change has made the West hotter and drier over the past three decades and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.
In the past five years, California has experienced the largest and most destructive fires in the state’s history. Weed has experienced three major fires since 2014.
The last fire broke out at or near Roseburg Forest Products,
which manufactures wood products. Evacuation orders were quickly put into effect for 7,500 people.
Yvasha Hilliard said she was at her home in Lincoln Heights when she heard “a big bang” and ran outside to see her neighbor’s house on fire.
“It was like fire coming down from heaven,” she said. “It was awful. Hilliard said his house was among those that burned down. “We lost everything,” she said.
Annie Peterson said she was sitting on the porch of her house when all of a sudden “all this smoke was flying out at us. Very quickly her house and a dozen others caught fire. She said members of her church helped evacuate her and his son who is motionless. He said the scene of smoke and flames felt like “the end of the world.” Dr
Deborah Higer, medical director at Shasta View Care Center, said all 23 patients at the center had to be evacuated. Twenty went to local hospitals while three stayed in their own homes where hospital beds were set up.
Rebecca Taylor, communications director for Roseburg in Springfield, Oregon, said a large vacant building on the edge of the company’s campus burned down. All staff were evacuated and none reported injuries, she said.
Power outages were reported at around 9,000 customers, according to utility PacifiCorp, with several thousand left without power late into the night due to the wildfire. Heat wave expected to push temperatures above 100 degrees in many areas by Labor Day.
Thousands of people were also urged to flee a fire Wednesday in Castaic north of Los Angeles and a blaze in eastern San Diego County near the Mexico border that severely burned two people and destroyed several homes. All evacuation orders were lifted on 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. It killed four people and destroyed dozens of homes.