Many injured, thousands flee as wildfires in Northern California

VEED, Calif. (AP) — Thousands remained under evacuation orders on Saturday after wildfires raged through rural northern California, injuring people and setting unidentified homes on fire.

The fire, which began Friday afternoon at or near a wood products plant, quickly spread to a neighborhood on the northern edge of Weed, but then carried about 2,600 of the flames away from downtown.

Evacuators described heavy smoke and bits of ash falling down.

A residence goes up in flames as mill fires cause damage in Lake Shastina subdivision northwest of Weed, California, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022.
A residence goes up in flames as mill fires cause damage in Lake Shastina subdivision northwest of Weed, California, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022.

AP. Via Hung T. VU / The Record Searchlight

Annie Peterson said she was sitting on the porch of her home near Roseburg Forest Products, which makes wood veneers, when “all of a sudden we heard a big boom and all that smoke was just rolling in towards us.”

Very quickly his house and about a dozen others caught fire. She said members of her church helped evacuate her and her son, who is stable. She said the scene of smoke and flames looked like “the world is coming to an end.”

A neighborhood smolders after it was destroyed by a mill fire in Weed, Calif., Friday, Sept. 2, 2022.
A neighborhood smolders after it was destroyed by a mill fire in Weed, Calif., Friday, Sept. 2, 2022.

Hung TV. Record searchlight through VU/AP)

Cal Fire spokeswoman Suzy Brady said several people were injured.

Allison Hendrickson, spokeswoman for Dignity Health North State Hospitals, said two people were brought to Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta. One was in stable condition and the other was transferred to UC Davis Medical Center, which houses the burn unit.

Rebecca Taylor, communications director for Rosberg Forest Products in Springfield, Oregon, said it was unclear whether the fire started on or near company property. She said a large empty building on the side of the company’s property burned down. He said all the employees have been evacuated and no casualties have been reported.

The fire, called the Mill Fire, was pushed at 35-mph (56-kph), and quickly covered 4 square miles (10.3 square kilometers) of land.

Flames roared through tinder—dry grass, brush, and wood. About 7,500 people were under evacuation orders in Weed and several surrounding communities.

Firefighters from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection try to stop the flames from the Mill Fire from spreading on a property in the Lake Shastina subdivision northwest of Weed, California, Friday, Sept.
Firefighters from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection try to stop the flames from the Mill Fire from spreading on a property in the Lake Shastina subdivision northwest of Weed, California, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022.

AP. Via Hung T. VU / The Record Searchlight

Dr. Deborah Higer, medical director of Shasta View Nursing Center, said all 23 patients at the facility were evacuated, 20 of whom were on their way to local hospitals and three were staying at their home, where hospital beds had been set up.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County and said a federal grant had been obtained “to help ensure the availability of critical resources to quell the fire.”

Power was reported to have been cut off at the time of the fire, affecting about 9,000 customers, and several thousand were without electricity late into the night, according to an outage website from the power company PacificCorp, which said they were in the woods. were due to fire.

It was the third major wildfire in as many days in California, which has been hit by a prolonged drought and is now raging under a heat wave, sending temperatures to the 100-degree mark in many areas through Labor Day. was expected to push up.

Thousands were ordered to flee on Wednesday as fires broke out in Caustic north of Los Angeles and eastern San Diego County near the Mexican border, where two people were severely burned and several homes destroyed. Those blasts contained 56% and 65%, respectively, and all clearance was removed.

Smoke covers the sky as the mill fire approaches in Weed, Calif., Friday, September 2, 2022.
Smoke covers the sky as the mill fire approaches in Weed, Calif., Friday, September 2, 2022.

AP. Via Hung T. VU / The Record Searchlight

The heat taxed the state’s power grid as people tried to stay calm. On the fourth day, residents were asked to save electricity during the late afternoon and evening hours on Saturday.

The Mill Fire was burning about an hour’s drive from the Oregon state line. A second fire broke out Friday near the Gazelle community, a few miles north of the fire. The Mountain Fire burned more than 2 square miles (6 square kilometers) but no injuries or building damage have been reported.

In recent years the entire region has repeatedly suffered devastating wildfires. The Mill Fire was only 30 miles (48 kilometers) to the southeast, where the McKinney Fire – the state’s deadliest of the year – erupted in late July. Four people died in this and dozens of houses were destroyed.

Olga Hood ran away from her weed house on Friday as smoke billowed over the next hill.

With the infamous gusts tearing through the city at the base of Mount Shasta, he did not wait for an evacuation order. Her granddaughter, Cynthia Jones, said she packed her documents, medicine and more.

“Everything moves quickly with weed in the air. It’s bad,” Jones said over the phone from her home in Medford, Oregon. “It’s not unusual to have 50 to 60 mph on a normal day. I flew into a creek as a kid. ,

Hood’s home of nearly three decades was spared from a fire last year and the devastating Boles Fire that ravaged the city eight years ago, which destroyed more than 160 buildings, mostly homes.

Jones said Hood cried when he discussed the fire from a relative’s home in the village of Granada. She was not able to collect photographs that were important to her late husband.

Scientists say climate change has made the West hotter and drier over the past three decades and will make the weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive. Over the past five years, California has experienced the largest and most devastating fire in the state’s history.

Associated Press journalist Olga R. Rodriguez and Jenny Haar and Stephanie DiGio and Brian Meley in Los Angeles contributed to this article.

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