Wind Spreads California Fire as Other States Battle Blazes

A massive wildfire in rural Northern California has exploded in size and forced evacuations in hot, dry weather that is sweeping through several western states where blazes are threatening thousands of homes.

Posted: Jul 3, 2018 9:54 AM
Updated: Jul 3, 2018 1:52 PM

GUINDA, Calif. (AP) — A massive wildfire in rural Northern California has exploded in size and forced evacuations in hot, dry weather that is sweeping through several western states where blazes are threatening thousands of homes.

The fast-moving fire that started over the weekend northwest of Sacramento grew dramatically to about 94 square miles (243 square kilometers) by Monday night, largely burning out of control in rugged terrain with a few cattle and horse ranches and sending smoke and ash as far south as San Francisco.

State fire officials said 700 homes and other buildings were threatened but none had burned.

The fire that started Saturday about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco spread as strong winds pushed smoke south, dusting cars and homes with a thin layer of gray ash. About 300 people were told to flee their homes. No injuries were reported.

The flames were chewing through tinder-dry grass, oak and brush in the hills outside of the tiny town of Guinda, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Gabe Lauderbale said.

"This fire is absolutely, extremely fast-moving," he said.

Thick smoke put a damper on what would otherwise be a busy time at nearby Lake Berryessa.

"It's frustrating," Chad Frazier, the owner of Berryessa Watersports at the Markley Cove Resort, told KGO-TV. "We were hoping with Fourth of July being on a Wednesday this this whole week would give us a bump. But obviously with the fire, it's not happening."

The hot, windy conditions fueling the fire and others across the West were expected to persist through the end of July in Utah and parts of California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, U.S. fire officials said. The Southwest, which has been struggling with drought, should get enough rain in early July to reduce the risk of major blazes in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, the National Interagency Fire Center said Sunday.

In Colorado, more than 2,500 homes were under evacuation orders as firefighters battled more than a half dozen wildfires. Most of the evacuations were tied to an 89-square-mile (230-square-kilometer) wildfire in southern Colorado that led to the arrest of a Danish man on arson charges.

San Luis Valley Emergency tweeted Monday night that the wildfire destroyed 104 homes so far.

Jesper Joergensen, 52, initially said he had started a fire to burn trash but then said he had been grilling in a permanent fire pit the day before the blaze began, according to a court document.

Joergensen, who reported the wildfire, said it started about 20 feet (6 meters) away from the fire pit Wednesday and he tried to put it out, according to an arrest affidavit.

Joergensen has been living in the country illegally, the document says, and federal immigration officials have requested that they be allowed to take custody of him if he's released from jail.

It's not clear if he has a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

People have fled about 570 homes near a 2-square-mile (6-square-kilometer) fire that started Friday west of Colorado Springs. About 360 children at a camp also had to be evacuated by the Chateau Fire.

In neighboring Wyoming, about 150 firefighters tried to contain a wildfire burning in the Medicine Bow National Forest near the Colorado border. It has burned about 33 square miles (85 square kilometers) since June 10. The fire is about 80 percent contained but flared up in the last week, prompting authorities to advise some residents to prepare to evacuate.

A wildfire burning in hot and dry conditions in Utah has forced the evacuation of about seven to 10 seasonal cabins near a popular fishing reservoir. The homes that are threatened about 80 miles (129 kilometers) southeast of Salt Lake City are not primary residences.

The fire has scorched about 10 square miles (25 square kilometers) near Strawberry Reservoir and officials believe it is human-caused but are investigating, said Jason Curry of the Utah Division of Forest, Fire and State Lands.

___

This story has been corrected to show that officials say the fire in Northern California is burning in two counties and that an agency website saying it spanned three counties was incorrect.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 3949

Reported Deaths: 148
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah104558
Marion90925
Washington69517
Clackamas29410
Deschutes1200
Linn1159
Umatilla1123
Polk9610
Lane672
Yamhill657
Jackson600
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath410
Coos310
Malheur280
Josephine261
Douglas250
Jefferson240
Wasco181
Columbia160
Hood River120
Morrow120
Lincoln90
Tillamook60
Curry60
Union60
Crook50
Wallowa20
Sherman10
Grant10
Harney10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 96400

Reported Deaths: 3769
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles460232116
Riverside7004292
San Diego6701249
Orange5469133
San Bernardino4365176
Alameda287493
Santa Clara2652139
San Francisco238640
Kern187129
San Mateo183376
Tulare164175
Santa Barbara155112
Fresno148222
Contra Costa133637
Sacramento130256
Imperial127423
Ventura91230
San Joaquin75233
Kings6472
Stanislaus64628
Sonoma5004
Solano45520
Monterey4138
Marin40314
Merced2616
San Luis Obispo2591
Santa Cruz2002
Yolo19422
Placer1859
Napa1013
Humboldt932
Madera842
El Dorado780
San Benito722
Nevada411
Sutter402
Del Norte370
Shasta364
Butte340
Mono341
Yuba281
Mendocino210
Inyo191
Mariposa151
Calaveras130
Lake120
Glenn120
Amador100
Siskiyou61
Colusa50
Lassen40
Plumas40
Tuolumne30
Tehama31
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 62°
Brookings
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 54°
Crater Lake
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 52°
Grants Pass
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 64°
Klamath Falls
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 52°
Getting hotter this week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Memorial Day Ceremony in Grants Pass

Image

A grand opening in the midst of a pandemic

Image

Pistole returns 'home' to Raiders softball

Image

Monday, May 25th Evening Weather

Image

Monday, May 25 afternoon weather

Image

Anywhere Learning: Field Trip - Five Features of a Forest

Image

Anywhere Learning: Read-aloud - A Wrinkle in Time

Image

Anywhere Learning: Vocal Masterclass

Image

Anywhere Learning: Summer Reads

Image

Monday, May 25 morning weather