While firefighters were working to extinguish a wildfire that had jumped across a Southern California freeway, it spread over dry hillsides. Residents in Northern California were forced to evacuate because of the new fire.
Saturday afternoon, the fire broke out near Castaic in northern Los Angeles County. The fire was whipped by winds of 10-15mph (16-24 km/h) and quickly spread to more than half a mile.
California Highway Patrol shut down a section of interstate highway for several hours while air tankers dropped bright orange retardant on the flames. The CHP reported that heavy smoke was drifting towards freeway lanes due to a large flareup Sunday afternoon.
Andrew Mitchell, a spokesperson for the Angeles National Forest, stated that two firefighters were taken to the hospital with burn injuries.
Officials stated that the fire was 63% contained on Sunday. Mitchell added that firefighters made significant progress overnight thanks to water-dropping aircraft, as well as an aggressive ground attack.
He stated that crews would use Sunday’s cooling trend to construct containment lines.
Investigators are currently investigating the cause of the fire.
Mendocino County officials evacuated Calpella from the Russian River, about 6 miles (10 km) north of Ukiah, as a result of a Sunday afternoon fire. Twitter footage shows the fire moving towards Lake Mendocino.
Residents of the mountain town of Grizzly Flat, which was devastated by the Caldor Fire south-west of Lake Tahoe, will be permitted to return Sunday to assess the damage. In the first few days of the month-old fire, most of Grizzly Flat’s homes were destroyed, along with the school, post office and church. State Route 50 residents were allowed to evacuate as the wildfire spread to 342-square-miles (886 km) and was contained to 65%.
Late Sunday, President Joe Biden declared El Dorado County a disaster. This was in an attempt to provide federal funding for state, tribal, and eligible local governments as well as certain private non-profit organizations that have been affected by the Caldor Fire.
Firefighters were diverted to fighting lightning fires overnight by thunderstorms that swept through the state on Thursday night and Friday.
Fire officials stated that the thunderstorms brought light rain to dampen the drought-stricken northern region.
Parts of the Dixie Fire, which started in mid-July, saw up to half an inch of rain fall on parts. It has ravaged large swathes of the northern Sierra Nevada as well as the southern Cascades. Officials from the fire department said that the rain is rapidly drying and the vegetation is becoming more flammable.
California’s second-largest wildfire has destroyed 1,500 square miles (3.885 km) of land, and more than 1,300 houses and other buildings. It was contained at 65%.