Disasters & Accidents

Firefighters make big strides in tackling huge Northern California blaze

Los Angeles/San Francisco, Jul 14 (EFE).- Firefighters battling a blaze that extends for more than 38,590 hectares (150 square miles) in Northern California – the state’s largest this year – have made major progress in recent hours, the United States Forest Service said Wednesday.

That agency’s latest bulletin said that the so-called Beckwourth Complex Fire has been 71 percent contained, up from 26 percent contained on Tuesday.

Formed by the lightning-triggered Dotta and Sugar blazes, that fire is affecting Plumas National Forest, which is located near the city of Beckwourth – and northwest of Lake Tahoe – at the northern terminus of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Evacuation orders have been issued for around 3,000 residents of different adjacent counties, according to estimates by local media outlets.

The Beckwourth Complex Fire spread rapidly over the weekend and reached a US highway near the city of Doyle, where it burned at least six structures.

The Forest Service suggested in its latest bulletin that weather conditions will facilitate the task of extinguishing the fire over the next few days, stating the Wednesday “is the last day of the Excessive Heat Warning with temperatures climbing into the 90’s to around 102 degrees F (39 C).”

Firefighters, for their part, expect to have the blaze totally contained by the end of July.

A separate blaze southwest of Yosemite National Park (the River Fire) that had been 21 percent contained as of Wednesday morning has burned more than 3,800 hectares in Central California since Sunday night, according to the latest update from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

The River Fire has destroyed five constructions, that same agency said.

The region where that fire incident was declared on Sunday has been registering extremely high temperatures of more than 42 C that cause blazes to spread rapidly and greatly complicate firefighters’ work.

Cal Fire says more than 4,900 wildfires have occurred thus far this year in that far-western US state and many more are likely to come considering that October and November are historically the worst months for devastating blazes.

California experienced its worst year ever in terms of the number of wildfires and surface area burned in 2020, when more than 1.6 million hectares were scorched.

Some 9,900 wildfires were registered last year in California, according to Cal Fire, which said nearly 10,500 structures were burned by the blazes and that 33 people died in wildfire-related incidents. EFE


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