California fires destroy buildings, forcing residents to flee

California fires destroy buildings, forcing residents to flee

HEMET, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters struggled to control major wildfires in California Thursday, which have grown rapidly and forced extensive evacuations amid scorching heat.

The deadly and devastating Fairview Fire in Southern California spread in two directions Wednesday, engulfing more than 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) of Riverside County. It contained only 5%.

In the Sierra Nevada, a mosquito fire scorched nearly 9 square miles (23 square kilometers), prompting evacuations in Placer and El Dorado counties.

“As you have seen, when the column of smoke rises, this fire continues to give us trouble,” California Fire Chief Mike Rufenacht said in a video briefing.

Another dangerous fire broke out near the resort area of ​​Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles. Its content was only 2% after burning almost 2 square miles (5 square kilometers).

The lingering heat wave was expected to end abruptly, at least in Southern California, by the weekend, when the remnants of the current Hurricane Kay arrived, bringing rain with it. Kay was near southern Baja California early Thursday morning, but some showers and thunderstorms associated with the hurricane had already reached Southern California.

The Fairview fire broke out on Monday amid a triple-figure heat wave and spread quickly, killing two people who were found in the vehicle, severely burning another, destroying seven structures and damaging several others.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. Southern California Edison notified the California Public Utilities Commission that “circuit activity” occurred shortly before the fire was reported, according to the Los Angeles Times. Activity not listed.

The Mosquito Fire burned several buildings and at least 10 vehicles near the gold rush settlement of Michigan Bluff, about an hour northwest of Sacramento.

Near the Oregon border, the mountain fire engulfed more than 18 square miles (47 square kilometers) of rural Siskiyou County and was 30% contained. It started on September 2nd.

Meanwhile, the wood products company said on Wednesday it was investigating whether the fire that killed two people in Weed, Northern California, was caused by the possible failure of a water spray machine that was used to cool ashes on plywood factory.

Roseburg Forest Products Co. also announced that while the investigation is pending, it plans to allocate up to $50 million to a community recovery fund.

The mill fire broke out on September 2 at the company’s Vida facility on Interstate 5, about 280 miles (451 km) northeast of San Francisco.

Roseburg Forest Products said in a press release that its factory generates its own power in a wood-residue-fired cogeneration plant, and the ash that is thrown out is sprayed with cooling water by a “third-party machine.”

“Roseburgh is investigating whether a third party machine failed to cool the ash enough to cause the fire,” the report said.

Hundreds of people fled Vid as the fire spread, destroying 107 structures and damaging 26 others. The flames eventually grew to over 6 square miles (15.5 square kilometers). On Wednesday, the fire was 65% contained with minimal activity.

Roseburg said his foundation will help residents with temporary shelter, medical supplies and treatment, transportation, clothing, food and water, and childcare services.

About the photo: A firefighter fights the Mosquito Fire near the community of Michigan Bluff in unincorporated Placer County, California on Wednesday, September 7, 2022.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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