banner
Lifestyles

The Latest: State of emergency for California wildfire

Posted August 31

— The Latest on wildfires burning across the western United States (all times local):

7 p.m.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for a wildfire in rural Northern California that has forced the evacuation of 2,500 homes.

Brown's declaration for the fire in Trinity County on Thursday night says the blaze has destroyed multiple homes, but neither he nor the U.S. Forest Service have said how many.

The fire that started Wednesday night for unknown reasons is burning out of control in extreme heat and very dry conditions about 200 miles (320 km) northwest of Sacramento. It has grown to nearly eight square miles (21 square km).

Evacuation orders have been issued for Junction City and Helena. The Redding Record-Searchlight says that amounts to about 2,500 homes.

The emergency declaration frees up special funding and resources to help fight the fire.

___

5:20 p.m.

A wildfire 40 miles south of the Burning Man festival in Nevada has now burned more than 80 square miles of mostly sage brush and grass but the main highway remains open and the counterculture festival is continuing 100 miles north of Reno.

The Sierra Front interagency dispatch center said late Thursday seven ranches are still threatened by the lightning-sparked fire near Pyramid Lake but no structures have been destroyed or injuries reported.

Fire officials say the estimated burn area nearly doubled after a flyover Thursday but the blaze is still far from the celebration in the Black Rock Desert.

More than 100 firefighters are on the scene with air support. There's currently no containment and full containment isn't expected for a week.

State Route 447 was closed north of U.S. Interstate 80 for several hours but reopened Thursday morning.

___

3:05 p.m.

Evacuation orders have been lifted at a wildfire on the California-Nevada line but a long stretch of highway is still closed in both directions.

No injuries have been reported or buildings lost, but the fire has burned about 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) of sagebrush and scrubby pine trees along the Sierra Nevada's eastern front.

The town of Topaz just south of the state line was evacuated as a precaution after the lightning-sparked blaze broke out Wednesday night. But residents were allowed to return to their homes by noon Thursday.

A 65-mile (105-kilometer) stretch of U.S. Highway 395 remains closed from south of Gardnerville, all the way to Bridgeport, California, at the intersection with California State Highway 182.

___

1:15 p.m.

An official says firefighters are battling a lightning-sparked wildfire in a remote part of the vast former national nuclear proving ground north of Las Vegas.

Nevada National Security Site spokeswoman Tracy Bower said Thursday that the fire covers almost 4 square miles (10 square kilometers) in the western part of what used to be the Nevada Test Site.

More than 1,000 nuclear detonations occurred at the 1,360-square-mile (3522-square-kilometer) secure federal reservation from 1951 to 1992. It now hosts non-nuclear experiments and safety training.

Bower didn't have immediate information about the exact location of the fire or what tests may have taken place in the burn area in the past.

She says the fire started Monday and isn't considered a threat to people or buildings.

It's being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation.

____

11:30 a.m.

Fire crews battling a wildfire that has destroyed 10 homes near the Northern California town of Oroville were able to slow its growth overnight.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Thursday that the blaze about 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of Sacramento had consumed nearly 5 square miles (13 square kilometers) and was partially contained. It's still threatening 500 homes.

It says fire crews from across California are joining more than 1,000 firefighters battling the fire that started Tuesday.

It's one of many wildfires burning across the U.S. West, including blazes in and around California's Yosemite National Park that have closed a popular road into the park, shuttered the iconic Wawona Hotel and evacuated nearby towns.

About 58 homes near the park were destroyed earlier this summer.

___

11 a.m.

Firefighters battling a wildfire near the Burning Man festival say they're trying to keep the main highway open to the counterculture celebration in the Nevada desert.

Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Dan Gordon says State Route 447 connecting Interstate 80 to the festival was closed for several hours overnight but reopened Thursday morning.

Gordon says traffic is moving in both directions but it's "very slow going."

Interagency fire spokesman John Gaffney says the biggest priority is protecting about a half dozen ranches threatened by the fire that has burned about 45 square miles (116 square kilometers).

The blaze is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Burning Man.

He says aircraft are attacking the flames that are chewing through sagebrush and cheatgrass in temperatures expected to reach triple digits.

___

11:45 p.m.

Ten homes have been destroyed and 500 more are threatened near the Northern California town of Oroville.

The area has already been hard-hit by fire and a massive evacuation earlier this year caused by damage to sections of the nation's tallest dam.

Authorities on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of starting an illegal campfire believed to have ignited the blaze that has also damaged five homes.

It's one of many wildfires burning across the U.S. West, including blazes in and around California's Yosemite National Park that have closed a popular road into the park, shuttered the iconic Wawona Hotel and evacuated nearby towns.

About 58 homes near the park were destroyed earlier this summer.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all