Placerville, California (AP) — Millions of acres of national forests in northern California have been closed due to dangerous fire conditions, and have already raged the area, destroying hundreds of homes.
The US Forest Office will extend north from near Lake Tahoe on the eastern Nevada border to the west to the Oregon border on Thursday, August 22, with just one million acres of land alone.
The El Dorado National Forest was already closed this week due to a Caldor fire that burned down the Sierra Nevada mountain town of Grizzly Flats. Uncontained flames destroyed well over 100 square miles (259 square kilometers) of land.
After growing ten times its original size in just two days, the fire on Thursday slowed down a bit and was pushed east into a less populated forest area. However, about 25,000 people remained receiving evacuation orders.
The fire chief hastily sent resources to a fire on a steep slope in the woodlands southwest of Lake Tahoe. Officials said more than 650 firefighters and 13 helicopters were assigned to the flames, where aerial firefighters throughout the state were performing fire extinguishing missions where conditions allowed.
Keith Wade of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Control said:
At Omoranchi, near where the fire began, a bulldozer tore trees to create a firebreak, preventing the flames from spreading south.
While almost the entire town was evacuated, Sirman Conroy and his wife Michele stayed behind to protect their home and their business, the Conroy General Store. But they were ready to escape if the fire was too close.
“The fire wants us to be bad, because it makes every attempt to get out of the canyon and climb this way,” Sirman said. “So they keep defeating it. And that’s just … it’s elastic, stubborn, and never disappears. That’s all we can do.”
Evacuees from Caldor Fire found shelters in places like the Green Valley Community Church in Placerville, west of the fire, and set up tents and trailers in the parking lot. Adrian Childress, 7, has set up a special tent for those who want to paint and pray over time.
Gust weather pushed up a series of disastrous flames through California trees, grass and brushes. Dozens of fires threatened thousands of homes, forcing the hottest areas to evacuate entire small communities squeezed into scenic woodlands.
Over 10,000 firefighters were in line.
Dixie fires, which have been burning in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains and southern Cascade since July 13, have swelled to about 1,060 square miles (2,745 square kilometers) and contained only 35%, officials said.
According to officials, this is the first fire in the recorded state history to spread east to west throughout the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
According to an ongoing damage assessment, a fire that burned down the town of Greenville two weeks ago destroyed more than 1,200 buildings, including 649 homes.
A few people were injured, but no one was killed, but a fire broke out not far southwest of the current flame, killing 85 people and effectively turning the town of Paradise in Butte County. It was destroyed.
In Lake County, about 80 miles (130 km) north of San Francisco, a small but destructive flame burned a mobile home park, turning an estimated 50 homes into ashes.
According to scientists, climate change will continue to make the west warmer, drier, more extreme weather and more destructive wildfires over the last three decades.
Due to the hot and dry weather and drought, vegetation has become a crater and much of the western United States has been scorched, according to fire officials.
According to the National Inter-Ministry Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, more than 100 large-scale, lively fires broke out in more than 12 western states. These fires strained resources and made it difficult for California to obtain equipment and crew from outside the state.
According to agency spokesman Jonathan Groveman, the US Forest Office is seeking help from Canada, Mexico and Australia, but they are already busy fighting the Canadian flames.
Antczak reported from Los Angeles.