Search teams have found two more bodies in an area scorched by a fifth day of wildfires raging in northern California near the Oregon border, taking four lives to the state’s deadliest wildfire this year, officials said Tuesday.
The two latest victims were found Monday in separate homes along a highway that runs through the Klamath National Forest fire zone about 300 miles (483 km) north of San Francisco, according to a statement released by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.
The remains of two other men, apparently trying to escape the fire at the last minute, were found Sunday inside a burned-out car that slid out of the driveway of another home along the same highway, sheriff’s officials said Monday.
Authorities said no further details about the deaths would be released until positive identification has been confirmed and next of kin have been notified.
As of Tuesday, the so-called McKinney Fire had charred more than 22,662 acres of timber suffering from drought, tall grass and brush.
About 2,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate since the fire broke out on Friday.
Numerous homes have been destroyed and nearly 5,000 apartments were listed as fire-damaged, but authorities have not yet assessed the extent of property damage.
The doubling of the death toll came after a night of relatively light fire compared to previous nights.
High humidity helped dampen the fire while crews made progress carving out containment lines to protect communities on the edge of the fire zone, Dennis Burns, a fire behavior specialist for the incident management team, said at a morning briefing.
Much of the effort was focused on the outskirts of Yreka, the Siskiyou County seat and former gold mining town now home to 7,800 residents.
Burns said thunderstorms in the forecast could bring welcome rain to the area, or erratic winds that could fuel the fire, as well as possible lightning that could ignite additional fires.
The cause of the fire in McKinney was under investigation.
The fire broke out in record temperatures in an area where dried trees and undergrowth had already created a highly flammable fuel bed, consistent with extreme conditions scientists attribute to human-induced climate change.
Death toll rises to 4 in California’s biggest wildfire this season – SABC News
Source link Death toll rises to 4 in California’s biggest wildfire this season – SABC News