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.
Below are the current conditions of these six major wildfires:
1) Beaver Fire is burning 10,516 acres and is 2 percent contained -
Fire crews are continuing to provide structure defense around the homes along Beaver Creek Rd and Hwy 96 in the town of Klamath River according to InciWeb's website. Firefighters will continue to work to hold and improve the containment lines on the northwest flank of the fire, in particular along Christmas Tree Ridge
An evacuation advisory has been issued for residents along Highway 96 in the town of Klamath River and on Beaver Creek Road. Hwy 96 is open to local residents only near the fire area; however, residents should be aware that Hwy 96 may be closed at any time to provide for public and firefighter safety.
2) Eiler Fire is burning 25,900 acres and is 0 percent contained -
The Eiler Fire spread is primarily torching and spotting in the morning transitioning to more extreme fire behavior in the afternoon reports InciWeb. This includes group torching, rapid rates of spread and spotting up to 0.4 miles.
The fire should continue to spread north, east and southeast. Resistance to control is very high and spot fires will spread rapidly according to Cal Fire.
3) Bald Fire is burning 39,850 acres and is 20 percent contained -
InciWeb projects that critically dry fuels will continue to be the main driver of fire behavior. Fire should continue to spread north, southeast and east with low humidities and high temps. Resistance to control will be very high and spot fires will ignite and spread readily. Fire is burning in an area affected by long term drought. Fire MAY moderate slightly if predicted cooler weather and chance of thunderstorms.
4) French Fire is burning 13,267 acres and is 30 percent contained -
InciWeb says that today, fire crews will continue building and reinforcing containment lines on the north, west and south perimeters. The east perimeter has burned down to the San Joaquin River. Structure defense continues in the Arnold Meadow area on the northern perimeter.
5) Coffee Fire is burning 4,487 acres and is 5 percent contained -
Cal Fire is reporting significant growth on all flanks to fire except for the East Fork of Coffee Creek. The Coffee Fire is actively burning through all fuel types. Natural barriers are not completely reliable to hold fire according to InciWeb's website.
Cal Fire reports that no evacuations in effect or anticipated at this time.
6) Day Fire is burning 12,975 acres and is 55 percent contained -
Cal Fire reports that firefighters continue to make great progress. Fire behavior has moderated, however, a red flag warning will be in effect today due to thunderstorms in the area. Temperatures will be 10 degrees cooler than yesterday with much higher humidity. Winds will also be quite variable especially at the upper slopes and ridges.
Firefighters were also focusing on two wildfires near each other in Northern California that have burned through more than 100 square miles of terrain. One of the fires is menacing a small town and prompted the evacuation of a long-term care hospital.
The Shasta County sheriff had Burney on an evacuation watch after ordering residents of three small neighboring communities to leave on Saturday night. The state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said more than 700 residences were threatened.
The two fires, among 14 burning in the state, started within a day of each other in Lassen National Forest and had expanded into private property. About 102 square miles had been scorched as of late Sunday night, up from 39 square miles a day earlier.