Wildfire in Several Western States, residents at risk– Wildfires in several Western states threatened homes but most numerous in Northern California, at least 650 residents have been evacuated.
A series of wildfires were intensified by dry vegetation, triple-digit temperatures and gusting winds.
The biggest California wildfire raging in the Lower Lake area north of San Francisco spread through to cover even more drought-stricken ground. Wildfires are also burning in Washington and Oregon.
We’ve had lightning throughout the state”, said Lynne Tomachoff, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “but Southern California has seen a little bit more precipitation, which helps”. Rapidly changing wind conditions are making it hard to control the fire.
“The biggest challenge is the extreme and explosive rates of spread of these fires”, he said. 21 major wildfires hit the state and 8,000 firefighters were needed to take care of the situation.
“This is a very fast-moving wildfire,” said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention, or Cal Fire.
A firefighter battling one of the large wildfires David Ruhl of Rapid City, South Dakota, died in the line of duty fighting the Frog Fire in far northern California’s Modoc National Forest, near Adin. Rescuers found his body Friday morning after searching for him through the night.
Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for California and activated the California National Guard to help with disaster recovery.
Forest Supervisor said “Our hearts are heavy for Dave, Dave’s family, friends, the entire Forest Service and wild land fire community.”
Cal Fire says most of the fires are over 60% contained. Flames have destroyed 24 homes and thousands more are in harm’s way. The fire was five percent contained.
According to Ted Mattila of Buckingham Golf and Country Club in Kelseyville, “We can see the smoke and it appears to be blowing near us but there are no evacuations here that I know of. We are open for business and hoping the wind blows the other way because we have two tournaments tomorrow.”IMAGE/abcnews.go.com