ALTURAS (AP) - Thousands of federal, state and local firefighters are feverishly attacking six major wildfires in central and far northern California, four of which grew rapidly overnight and prompted evacuations of homes, vacation cabins and recreation areas.
On Saturday afternoon, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the state due to the wildfires burning in El Dorado, Amador, Butte, Humboldt, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta and Siskiyou counties.
Cal Fire spokesperson Dennis Mathisen said the scope and intensity of the blazes burning Saturday, three of them sparked by dry lightning, are comparable to the fire activity California doesn't usually see until September.
Mathisen said the only silver lining is that the fires are mostly located in forests and sparsely population rural areas, so fewer homes are threatened and fewer people have had to evacuate.
One of the most serious was burning in Modoc County near the community of Day. It started Wednesday and had torched nearly 19.5 square miles by Saturday morning. A community of 150 homes called Lookout Ranchettes is under evacuation.
Cal Fire provided information for six fires burning in Northern California:
1) Beaver Fire burning 7,001 acres and is 1 percent contained -
The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office issued a mandatory evacuation notice to the residents of Beaver Creek. Sheriff's deputies along with the United States Forest Service (USFS) are going door to door to notifying residents that they must evacuate the area.
The Beaver Fire is located north of Highway 96, off of the Beaver Creek Road. The Cleghorn Fire, which is being managed with the Beaver Fire, is located to the northeast of the Beaver Fire. Both were started by lightning on July 29 or 30.
2) Eiler Fire burns 23,000 acres and is 0 percent contained -
UPDATE 6 p.m:
The Eiler Fire south of Burney was reported at 23,000 acres late Saturday night according to Cal Fire. It burned across Highway 89 in the Hat Creek Area and is now burning in heavy timber on both sides of the highway. Eight houses and 20 other structures were burned near the Honn Campground area. Cal fire reported that no injuries have been reported. The fire moved northward Saturday, Aug. 2, threatening communities.
The Eiler fire started in the Thousand Lakes Wilderness, from a lightning strike. It exploded in size Saturday to 5,500 acres, burning rapidly to the north and east. Residents and visitors evacuated from the Wilderness and from the Hat Creek Valley, along Highway 89 from Doyles Corner/Cassel Road south to Rocky Campground. Highway 89 is closed in this area. The trails in the Thousand Lakes Wilderness are also closed.
3) Bald Fire is burning 35,000 acres and is 5 percent contained -
UPDATE 6 p.m:
The Bald Fire, also on the Lassen National Forest, eight miles southeast of Fall River Mills, grew to 35,000 acres Saturday and forced evacuation of homes in the Little Valley area of northwest Lassen County according to Cal Fire. There have been no structures damaged or destroyed. The fire is burning heavy brush and scattered timber.
The fire burned on the Hat Creek Ranger District on the Lassen National Forest, it is burning in heavy brush and timber about eight miles south of Fall River Mills. It has spread northeast from Bald Mountain.
It is spreading mostly to the east and southeast; possibly to north and northeast as well. Resistance to control is very high with extreme fire behavior likely. Fire is burning in area affected by long term drought.
Evacuations were ordered for Little Valley Road. Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroad is shut down.
4) French Fire is burning 12,827 acres and is 20 percent contained -
The fire is expected to be active in the northern and northwest perimeter on both sides of the Minarets Road as the fire moves into more dense fuels. The final burning operation is planned for the southern edge of the fire to reinforce completed containment line.
Residents living in the community of Arnold Meadow were notified to evacuate due to increased fire activity along the northern perimeter of the fire. Several summer homes in the Hogue Apple Ranch and Wagner's Resort were evacuated earlier in the week.
5) Coffee Fire is burning 2,000 acres and is 5 percent contained -
The Coffee Fire is located in the Trinity Alps Wilderness, 5 miles northwest of Coffee Creek. It has a moderate to rapid rate of spread.
6) Day Fire is burning 12,850 acres and is 25 percent contained -
UPDATE 6 p.m:
The Day Fire, near the community of Day northeast of Fall River Mills, is at 12,850 acres and is 25 percent contained according to Cal Fire. A mandatory evacuation is in place for homes in the Lookout Ranchettes. An evacuation center is established at the Adin Community Center on Main Street in Adin.
The fire burned in heavy timber and brush. Firefighters constructed control lines along the fire perimeter with the support of firefighting aircraft and bulldozers. High temperatures, low humidity and strong, erratic winds continued to pose challenges.