WEED, Calif. — Two people died in a blaze that ripped through a Northern California town, said Siskiyou County Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue.
The people were both women ages 66 and 73. They were found at separate locations. The names of the women have not been released and the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook post that there have been no reports of anyone unaccounted for in the Mill Fire.
“There’s no easy way of putting it,” LaRue said before calling for a moment of silence during a community meeting on Sunday afternoon.
Both LaRue and other officials acknowledged uncertainties facing the community, such as when people would be allowed back into their homes and power would be restored. About 559 people were still under evacuation orders Monday morning as firefighters worked to contain the blaze that had sparked out of control Friday at the start of the holiday weekend.
The blaze, known as the Mill Fire, hadn’t expanded since Saturday morning, covering about 6.6 square miles with 40% containment, according to Cal Fire.
A total of 132 structures were destroyed or damaged, fire officials said Sunday, though it wasn't clear whether they were homes, businesses, or other buildings.
The winds make Weed and the surrounding area a perilous place for wildfires, whipping small flames into a frenzy. Weed has seen three major fires since 2014, a period of extreme drought that has prompted the largest and most destructive fires in California history.
- Big Springs Road at Rancho Hills
- Big Springs Road at Jackson Ranch Road
- Jackson Ranch Road at Edgewood
- Alamo Avenue at Railroad
- Lincoln East/Broadway at Roseburg Parkway
- Highway 97 is closed at West Inez, Hoy Road, Lincoln (Eat and West), Alameda
- Karuk Wellness Center: 1403 Kahtishraam, Yreka, CA
- For large animals: Siskiyou County Fairgrounds at 250 Sharps Road, Yreka, CA
- For Dogs: Rescue Ranch Adoption Center at 2216 E Oberlin Road, Yreka, CA
- For Cats: Siskiyou County Fairgrounds Armory at 1712 Fairlane Road, Yreka, CA
Here is a map of the zones under evacuation orders and evacuation warnings from the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office.
This map from ESRI shows fire activity (this may take a few seconds to load).
According to Cal Fire, the 2021 fire season started earlier than previous years, but also ended earlier, as well. January 2021 saw just under 1,200 acres burned from nearly 300 wildfires. Fires picked up in the summer when the Dixie Fire burned in five Northern California counties — Butte, Plumas, Shasta, Lassen and Tehama. The Dixie Fire started on July 13 and wasn't contained until Oct. 25, burning nearly 1 million acres. It has since become the second-largest wildfire in state history and the largest non-complex fire.
Overall, 2.5 million acres were burned in 2021 from 8,835 wildfires. Over 3,600 structures were destroyed and 3 people were killed.
If you live in a wildfire-prone zone, Cal Fire suggests creating a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation and other debris are completely cleared. At least 100 feet is recommended.
The Department of Homeland Security suggests assembling an emergency kit that has important documents, N95 respirator masks, and supplies to grab with you if you’re forced to leave at a moment’s notice. The agency also suggests signing up for local warning system notifications and knowing your community’s evacuation plans best to prepare yourself and your family in cases of wildfires.
Some counties use Nixle alerts to update residents on severe weather, wildfires, and other news. To sign up, visit www.nixle.com or text your zip code to 888777 to start receiving alerts.
PG&E customers can also subscribe to alerts via text, email, or phone call. If you're a PG&E customer, visit the Profile & Alerts section of your account to register.
What questions do you have about the latest wildfires? If you're impacted by the wildfires, what would you like to know? Text the ABC10 team at (916) 321-3310.
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