California has reported its biggest wildfire of the year. The fire originated in Siskiyou county in northern California. The wildfire, dubbed the McKinney Fire, has left a trail of destruction. It has burnt 21,000 hectares of land up until now.
The fire service reported that they haven’t started containing the fire yet. Unfortunately, this means that the fire will destroy more properties in the coming days.
Prompt evacuations have led to no casualties as of now. Around 2000 residents and trekkers have escaped to safer locations. There are no estimates of the number of properties destroyed.
The fire is currently burning in the Klamath National Forest. The firefighting agency has also deployed 650 firefighters to contain the fire.
California’s governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Siskiyou County on Saturday. He said that” dry fuels, unprecedented drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and winds have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire.”
Several red flag warnings have been issued for the state. It faces a heightened risk of wildfires because of long prevailing droughts.
Several communities in the path of the fire face existential threat. Yreka and Fort Jones also reported extensive damage to homes.
Authorities have warned that the current situation could worsen. Thunderstorms could lead to more fires ahead.
Forest Service spokesperson Adrienne Freeman explained its cause. She also said, “Fuel beds are very dry and can ignite from lightning. Gusty, erratic winds coming with thunder cells can spread the fire in all directions.”
The McKinney Fire follows the Oak Fire blazing in Yosemite National Park. Firefighters have contained two-thirds of the fire. However, this won’t be the last fire either. The fire season will continue for the upcoming months.
Wildfires in California have intensified both in size and frequency because of climate change. In addition, it perpetrates arid weather across the region that has led to increased wildfires.
This year wildfires have burnt 53,000 acres of land across California. Of course, the amount of land burned in wildfires varies year by year. The trend starting from the 1980s has shown wildfires on the rise, though.