Northern California: Caldor wildfire intensifies amid extreme winds

 Wednesday, August 18, 2021 


California Wildfire

A small California town named Caldor was largely destroyed Tuesday, the second mountain community nearly leveled by a ferocious fire in two weeks in California, as fire fighters worked to contain multiple wildfires spreading dangerously close to communities.

Now thousands of residents have been evacuated as this wildfire ignited over the weekend tripled in size within a day. The Caldor fire was exploded in size Monday night, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services tweeted Tuesday.

The fire continues to pose a high risk to multiple populated communities, Cal Fire said in a Tuesday update.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for El Dorado County due to the fire, which has devastated the community of Grizzly Flats, located about 65 miles east of Sacramento.

Many buildings have been destroyed and many others are threatened, officials said. The fire burned at least one elementary school in the Pioneer Union School District, one community church, and one post office, Cal Fire officials said.

Two people were airlifted to hospitals after getting seriously injured in the area, Cal Fire said. One person approached firefighters, who tried conducting first aid before the person was taken to a hospital. Another person suffered “severe” injuries.

Overall, about 6,850 people are evacuated, according to the office of emergency services.

The Dixie Fire spurred a new round of evacuation orders Tuesday as fierce winds helped it grow and push the monstrous blaze within about 8 miles of Susanville, California, population about 18,000.

Late Tuesday, Pacific Gas & Electric said it has begun shutting off power to about 51,000 customers in 18 Northern California counties to prevent wildfires. Pacific Gas & Electric announced that it has begun enacting the shutoffs as a precaution to prevent gusting winds from damaging power lines and sparking blazes in a tinder-dry region that already is struggling with a series of wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes.

Meanwhile, to the southeast, a small blaze called the Caldor Fire exploded through Grizzly Flats, a town of about 1,200.

Very few homes were left standing in Grizzly Flats, where streets were littered with downed power lines and poles. Houses were reduced to smoldering ash and twisted metal with only chimneys rising above the ruins. A post office and elementary school were also destroyed.

The fire officials estimated that at least 50 homes had burned in the area since the fire erupted Saturday and two people were hospitalized with serious injuries.

It marks the second northern California community destroyed by a blaze this month as thousands of residents fled without assurances their homes would be there when they returned.

The Dixie Fire ravaged the gold rush town of Greenville on Aug. 4, about two weeks ago. The blaze left a trail of destruction in the historic downtown area that features buildings built in the 1800s and throughout the 1849 gold rush.

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