More than 200 people were evacuated to safety Sunday morning after a fast-moving wildfire engulfed a popular camping area in Sierra National Forest, California. It was one of several fires that occurred between temperatures that burned the state.
The California Office of Emergency Services used Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters for rescue operations that began late Saturday and continued overnight. At least two people were seriously injured and another 10 sustained minor injuries. The two camps refused to defend and were behind, the Madeira County Sheriff’s Office said.
A photo tweeted by the National Guard showed at least 20 people inside a helicopter, holding their belongings on the ground. In another photo taken on the ground from the cockpit, the hills of dense trees around the plane were on fire.
A wildfire called Creek Fire began Friday and erupted over 145 square kilometers by Saturday afternoon, jumping over the San Joaquin River and cutting off the only road that enters the Mammoth Pool campground, said National Forest spokesman Dan Tune. At least 2,000 structures are threatened in an area 467 kilometers north of Los Angeles, with temperatures in the city’s San Fernando Valley hovering around 47C.
Firefighters with the help of water dropping planes were told to approach the campers until they had access to the site.
Situated 56 km northeast of Fresno, the lake is surrounded by dense pine forests and is a popular destination for boating and fishing. Bone dry conditions and hot weather fueled the fires.
“Once a fire breaks out, it creates its own atmosphere, adding air to increase the spread,” Tune said.
Juliana Park recorded a video of her and others’ cars on fire as they fled from a mountain road.
“Backpacking trip was reduced by literally driving by fire to evacuate the back thunder, gray rain, and #sierra National Forest on time,” she tweeted.
“Thanks to the SNF Ranger who led us, I want her name to come to us.”
Back unpacked thunder, reduced backpacking trip by gray rain and # Sierra National Forest in time . Thanks to the SNF Ranger who led us … we want to get her name. #CreekFire mercnews fsfchronicle @ ABC7 KTVU pic.twitter.com/37Ys7XGJ2a
& mdash;ul Julipdo
Lindsay Abbott and her family were guided to safety by a stranger from their camp site near Whiskey Falls.
“It’s so hot, you feel like a fire going out through the window,” she told KFSN-TV in Fresno.
Among those rescued were Ashley Wagner, two relatives and a friend. They were trapped in the Logan Meadow behind the Wagners store, the 63-year-old business run by her aunt was destroyed.
See | Dozens of evacuees exit California National Guard helicopter:
“My family history is on fire,” she told the Fresno station ABC30.
In southern California, a fire in the Yucca Mountains east of Los Angeles prompted evacuation orders along with 54,000 eastern parts of the city and several mountain communities. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Call Fire, burned at least 11 square kilometers of brush and trees.
Bob Fonzie watched in horror as the fire raced through the crevices near his remote home on the winding road.
“If it spins around, it comes into my back door,” he told KABC-TV on Saturday. “And the problem with that is that firefighters don’t have easy access.”
Only five percent were on fire Sunday morning.
In eastern San Diego County, a Valley fire broke out Saturday afternoon and fire officials warned fires were burning “at a dangerous speed.” As of Sunday morning it had burned 16 square kilometers and destroyed at least 10 structures after promoting evacuations near the remote community of Alpine in the Cleveland National Forest. There is no control.
Call Fire More than 14,800 firefighters are fighting 23 major fires in the state. Despite the heat, firefighters had two large fires in coastal Montreal County.
Authorities are warning of a power outage
California has seen 900 wildfires since Aug. 15, many of which were triggered by lightning strikes. The fires burned more than 600,000 hectares. There were eight fires and nearly 3,300 structures were destroyed.
The heat wave is expected to spread to higher temperatures in California until Monday. Temperatures in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles reached 47C on Saturday, with forecasts forecasting even hotter on Sunday.
Authorities urged the public to conserve electricity to reduce stress on the state power grid and prevent rolling blockouts.
“These interruptions were avoided on Friday and Saturday due to personal protection efforts, but even more conservation efforts are needed today,” Gavin Gavin told the NewSom office in a statement on Sunday.
Creek Fire forced the closure of a 915-megawatt hydroelectric station in Madeira County, further depleting grid resources.
Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s largest utility, warned consumers on Saturday that high power cuts could occur from Tuesday as more and more fires occur due to high winds and heat. The largest and deadliest fires in the state in recent years have been caused by some collapsed power lines and other utility equipment.