A wildfire in the midst of an ongoing heat wave that grips California left injuries, set buildings on fire and forced evacuations across the state’s rural north on Friday.
According to an update from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, the Mill Fire expanded to nearly 4,000 acres Friday night.
Declaring a state of emergency for Siskiyou County, where the fire raged, Governor Gavin Newsom said late Friday that the fire had caused an unspecified number of civilian casualties and cut electricity to some residents.
More than 9,000 residents of Siskiyou County were without power Friday night PowerOutage.us.
As night fell, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Courtney Kreider said the fire had burned buildings.
“The fire exploded and set several houses on fire,” she says tweeted.
Cal Fire spokesman Robert Foxworthy confirmed that buildings had burned to the ground, but he could not give a count. “I’ve seen them,” he said.
Firefighters working late into the night had no containment to report, Cal Fire said.
Newsom said in a statement late Friday that his emergency declaration would ensure firefighting equipment was available to the county. He said he received a fire-related grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The wildfire was reported near Weed’s town at 12:49 PM fire brigadeaccording to Cal Fire.
The fire set an ominous plume of smoke over the area, which is 85 miles south of the McKinney Fire. That fire last month claimed four lives and is now 99% under control, according to federal officials.
The mill fire prompted mandatory evacuations for the communities of Weed, Lake Shastina and Edgewood, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriffs Office. Those areas include more than 5,000 residents, according to the US Census Bureau.
The California Department of Transportation said Highway 97 in the area of the fire was closed.
The office used the National Weather Service to distribute the mandatory evacuations for areas near Weed. The county borders Oregon.
The McKinney fire, the largest of the year in the state, burned through 60,138 acres and was not expected to be fully contained until Oct. 1, according to the federal incident report from forest officials.
The Weed fire broke out amid a National Weather Service red flag warning for upper California and southwestern Oregon where multiple fires were reported.
The afternoon temperature in Weed was 91 degrees with low humidity but reported very low wind speed, the weather service said. A red flag warning, when a minor ignition could potentially start a wildfire, is the National Weather Service’s highest-level warning for residents. It indicates warm temperatures, low humidity and stronger winds.
The fire at Cedar Creek near the small Oregon town of Oakridge on Friday totaled 9,199 acres, 12% of which are surrounded, according to the US Forest Service.
It started on Aug. 1 by lightning, officials said.
The cause of the mill fire was investigated.