Northern California wildfire exacerbated by weather, causing significant growth

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The fire has already burned 30,000 to 40,000 acres with potentially dangerous storms possible on Saturday, according to an update from Klamath National Forest.

“Cumulus clouds are developing in the fire area which has the potential to exacerbate fire behavior,” Klamath National Forest said in a Facebook post.
Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Saturday for Siskiyou County, saying the fire threatened critical infrastructure and forced nearly 2,000 residents to flee their homes.

The blaze, known as the McKinney Fire, started Friday in Siskiyou County, near the California-Oregon border, about four hours north of Sacramento. The county has a population of approximately 44,000, according to the US Census Bureau.

A mandatory evacuation order was announced Saturday for parts of Siskiyou County, according to Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office. Residents of the evacuation zone are asked to “leave immediately, please”.

A red flag warning, which indicates unsafe fire conditions, is in effect. Lightning is expected in the area, and firefighters “expected a very dynamic day [Saturday] on the fire as the weather forecast is expected to be problematic for firefighters,” according to the InciWeb update.

Firefighters were forced to change their tactics “from an offensive perimeter control effort” to a more defensive posture to assist with evacuations on Saturday morning, the InciWeb report notes. McKinney Fire containment estimates were not made available as of Saturday afternoon.

According to the governor’s office, two other fires burning in Siskiyou County — the China 2 and Evans fires — merged and together burned more than 300 acres, prompting evacuation warnings for more than 200 residents.

The state of emergency is intended to free up state resources and allow firefighters from other states to help crews fight California fires, according to the governor’s office.

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