McKinney wildfire is California’s largest, burns over 51,000 acres

 Monday, August 1, 2022 


In just two days, the wildfire in Northern California burnt over 51,000 acres and forces the rural natives to evacuate the neighbourhoods. The wildfire has been fuelled by strong winds from thunderstorms and aggressive temperature rise.

The conflagration started on Friday in the Klamath National Forest in the Sisikou County in California, when dry timber was set to fire, as stated by the authorities.

Till Sunday morning no news of casualties and injuries associated to the fire have been reportedby the government officials. On Saturday, Gavin Newsom of California declared a state of emergency for the Siskiyou County. He said that about 2,000 people were called for immediate evacuation.

Also, an additional 1,000 people have also received orders for evacuation, as stated by a spokeswoman.

The heat from the fire generated a huge cloud called a pyrocumulonimbus, which has been referred to as “the fire-breathing dragon of clouds”. This cloud essentially generated its own weather and reached more than 39,000 feet into the sky, according to the National Weather Service in Medford, Ore.

The fire which had destroyed more than 100 structures including homes, stores, community centre and other buildings in the surrounding areas had not moved to the vicinity of the city of Yreka as on Sunday morning.

However, the full assessment of the damage is still pending as stated by a spokesperson of the Klamath National Forest.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the wildfire which was negligibly contained as of Sunday morning became one of the 50 larges wildfires in the United States so far in the year.

In the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in California, the Oak fire has burned more than 19,000 acres and threatened thousands of homes and businesses. That fire was about 64 percent contained on Sunday.

The California wildfire broke out at a precarious moment when the state is already facing abnormally high temperatures along with the Pacific Northwest.

Days of scorching temperatures and drought conditions have contributed to the intensity of fires by making vegetation drier and more likely to ignite.

Analyses have shown that human-caused climate change has increased the likelihood of such extreme heat waves.

On Saturday, firefighters shifted their focus from battling the perimeter of the fire to helping residents evacuate and protecting structures, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Videos and photos of the fire showed wisps of smoke spiraling up from trees as flames covered the Klamath National Forest with an orange glow. Cars fled on nearly empty roadways, and officers with the Redding Police Department helped residents evacuate as they watched the forest burn in the distance.

Officials and meteorologists were worried on Sunday about possible thunderstorms that could develop through Tuesday evening. Mr. Schaaf said such thunderstorms could create more fires in the area if lighting struck.

Smoke from the McKinney fire, however, could lower temperatures and “counteract some of those thunderstorm ingredients,” he added.

Still, the Klamath National Forest said in a statement on Sunday that these conditions can be extremely dangerous for firefighters as erratic winds push the fire in random directions.

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