The Latest: Wildfire spreads near Northern California river

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires burning in the West (all times local):

7 p.m.

Officials say evacuations are underway at a rural subdivision 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, California, as a wildfire climbs out of a steep canyon along the Middle Fork of the American River.

Placer County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin says homes near Todd Valley between the cities of Foresthill and Auburn are being evacuated as a 250-acre fire grows.

She did not know how many homes are affected, but says the fire is approaching a subdivision with large lots and a scattered population.

The fire began Tuesday afternoon in El Dorado County before jumping the river and climbing out of the canyon into neighboring Placer County.

California Department of Forestry and Fire protection spokeswoman Lynnette Round says firefighters in the air and on the ground are working in 101-degree heat.

No injuries or structure damage has been reported.


6 p.m.

A brush fire burning in central Arizona has forced evacuations and the closure of part of a major interstate.

Dolores Garcia with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management says the blaze near the Cordes Junction along Interstate 17 north of Phoenix has charred more than a square mile, and crews are dealing with the effects of thunderstorms that are building in the area.

Strong, erratic winds forced the flames to shift directions and start heading in a southern direction Tuesday evening.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office called for mandatory evacuations in portions of Cordes Lakes earlier in the day. Garcia said crews have managed to keep flames from reaching any structures.

Multiple engines, water-dropping helicopters and air tankers are assigned to the fire.


5:30 p.m.

Authorities say firefighters battling a blaze that has scorched almost 72 square miles in Arizona were forced to use their fire shelters following a sudden change in fire activity.

Officials with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Fort Apache Agency said Tuesday the firefighters were able to walk out of the area once it cooled, and none suffered life-threatening injuries.

It’s not clear what may have caused the change in fire behavior, and officials say an extensive investigation will follow given that deploying a fire shelter is considered a serious incident.

The blaze has been burning since June 15 and is 75 percent contained.

The crew was working along the remaining uncontrolled fire line when the incident occurred.


1:15 p.m.

Deadly wildfires in California are forcing a conversation about how to minimize the danger to millions of people.

Kevin Ryan, a former U.S. Forest Service fire scientist, said wildfires are often predictable, so the public must choose more wisely where to build communities in order to minimize the risk.

A fire still burning near Lake Isabella east of Bakersfield, California, killed an elderly couple and destroyed hundreds of homes. Last year, six people died in fast-moving California wildfires.

A report by the nonpartisan Climate Central says that 11 million Californians are at risk of wildfire and that climate change will lengthen wildfire season.

NASA climatologist Bill Patzert says climate change is a real factor. But he says California has irresponsibly built homes in wildlands as the state’s population exploded in recent decades.

comments powered by Disqus