Disasters & Accidents

New California wildfire spreads 24-fold in just hours

Los Angeles, Aug 19 (EFE).- A new fire in Northern California has multiplied in size 24-fold over the past two days, a situation that has forced the evacuation of almost 25,000 local residents.

The fire, dubbed the Caldor Fire, has been spreading as a result of strong winds and dry conditions in the area east of Sacramento and it has now burned more than 25,300 hectares (some 64,000 acres), according to figures compiled by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

Firefighters have not been able to get the fire under control to any degree at all since it broke out on Saturday for unknown reasons.

The fire is the same one that on Monday practically destroyed a town of 1,200 residents.

According to local media, very few homes in the town of Grizzly Flats remained standing after the flames passed through, and the fire also burned a post office, an elementary school and most of the town’s telephone and power poles.

Despite the extent of the material damage, no fatalities were reported.

Given this situation, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for El Dorado County after the blaze destroyed Grizzly Flats, located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of Sacramento.

At this point, and according to figures provided by the governor’s office, more than 35,000 people throughout California have had to be evacuated due to wildfires.

This includes more than 7,000 residents evacuated in recent hours due to the approach of the Dixie Fire, the second largest fire in California’s recorded history.

The Dixie Fire has burned more than 274,526 hectares (some 685,000 acres) over the past 36 days and the 6,200 firefighters battling it have only managed to get it 31 percent contained.

Since it began burning on July 14, the Dixie Fire has destroyed about 1,200 buildings, at least 625 of which were homes, according to Cal Fire.

At the beginning of this month, it largely wiped out Greenville, a town of about 1,100 residences.

Progress in getting the flames under control in the Dixie Fire has been slow in recent days due primarily to adverse weather conditions.

The high temperatures, low humidity and intense winds have made the work of emergency services personnel considerably more difficult.

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