Thousands evacuated due to fast-moving California wildfire

The Holiday Fire is one of more than three dozen major blazes burning across the US west

Reuters – 


Thousands were force to leave their homes in Santa Barbara County on Saturday as a fast-moving wildfire driven by strong winds and triple-digit temperatures destroyed 20 homes and other buildings, and officials declared a local emergency.

The Holiday Fire, one of more than three dozen major blazes burning across the US west, broke out on Friday evening near the beach community of Goleta, California, south of Santa Barbara, and raced through the seaside foothills.

The flames forced more than 2,000 people to flee their homes, and left thousands more without power, prompting the emergency declaration which frees additional funds for the firefighting effort.

About 350 firefighters took advantage of a period of light winds early on Saturday to contain as much as possible of the blaze, which has burned through 50 to 80 acres (20 to 32 hectares), fire officials said.

“It was a small fire but it had a powerful punch to it,” spokesman Mike Eliason said.

Dozens of blazes have broken out across the western US, fanned by scorching heat, winds and low humidity in a particularly intense fire season.

This year’s fires had burned more than 2.9 million acres (1.17 million hectares) through Friday, already more than the annual average of about 2.4 million acres (971,000 hectares) over the last 10 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

On Friday, the remains of an unidentified person were found near a home burned to the ground by the Klamathon fire, which broke out on Thursday near California’s border with Oregon. It marked the first fatality of the fire season in California.

The Klamathon, which has destroyed 15 structures and blackened nearly 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares), was only 5% contained as of Saturday.

Elsewhere in northern California, the County Fire has charred 88,375 acres (35,764 hectares) in sparsely populated wooded areas of Napa and Yolo Counties.

About 3,660 firefighters faced with inaccessible terrain, high temperatures and low humidity, were battling the fire, which was only 48% contained. It has destroyed 10 structures, damaged two and threatened 110.

In Colorado, officials said crews had made “much progress” battling the Spring Creek fire, which broke out on 27 June and has consumed 106,985 acres (43,295 hectares). It was 43% contained on Saturday, officials said. (Click to Source)

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