California wildfires: Nearly 30,000 evacuated

video title, Inferno burning in Northern California forces evacuations

  • author, Mallory Moench
  • stock, BBC News

Tens of thousands of people in Northern California have been told to evacuate their homes Wildfires grow across the state during a heat wave.

About 28,000 people were under evacuation warnings or orders Thursday after the Thompson fire broke out two days earlier. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFIRE).

The dangerously hot weather is expected to continue into early next week with temperatures reaching 118F (47C) in some areas.

While 74 buildings were destroyed or damaged across the state, no one was killed.

The city of Oroville, near the site of the Thompson fire, canceled its July 4 Independence Day fireworks celebration due to the threat of another fire.

“The last thing we need is someone who bought fireworks from the local fire station to go out and do something stupid,” Butte County Sheriff Corey Honea said. “Don’t be a fool, start a fire and cause us more trouble.”

Mr Honia said four fires had broken out in the region in the past two weeks and warned that the danger was far from over.

“It’s been a bad fire season,” he said.

Fire season in California recently started and usually lasts until October. The size and intensity of fires in the state has been increasing in recent years.

The amount of summer burned areas in northern and central California increased fivefold from 1996 to 2021, compared to the previous 24-year period. Scientists reason to human-caused climate change.

This week, the National Weather Service issued extreme heat and red flag warnings across the state — indicating hot, dry and windy weather. The agency said the “dangerous” temperatures could pose a serious risk of heat stress or illness.

According to Calfire, about two dozen fires have burned more than 10 acres across the state since the last week of June. The largest, nearly 14,000 acres, was in Fresno County.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Butte County to provide resources.

The Thompson Fire started Tuesday in Oroville, about 70 miles north of the state capital, Sacramento. The town is 20 miles from Paradise, which was devastated by a camp fire in 2018 that killed 85 people. Over the next few years, fires spread again in the region.

About 28,000 people were affected by evacuation orders or warnings as of Thursday, CalFire spokesman Robert Foxworthy told the BBC. About 3,500 acres of land, the fire was only 7% contained.

The fire is no longer growing amid light wind speeds, but the heat – forecast to hit 110F (43C) on Thursday – is a “big factor” affecting firefighters.

Two days after the fire, many residents were unable to return home.

Brittany Hardy, a Louisiana native and recent California transplant, told the San Francisco Chronicle That her girlfriend was not at home when she vacated their apartment, leaving nothing but the clothes she was wearing.

“I knew wildfires were bad in California, but I didn’t know it was this bad,” Hardy told the newspaper.

Oroville City Councilman Shawn Webber posted a video on Facebook Wednesday showing mountains of smoke on both sides of a road, but thanked firefighters for preventing further destruction.

California’s state park system, the agency responding to the fires, “has employees with families displaced by these evacuations who are tirelessly helping the community of Lake Oroville.”

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