Sept.18,2014: More than 2,000 homes and up to 1,500 other smaller structures are threatened by wild fires that are spreading out of control near Sacramento California. With 2,500 brave firefighters involved, the fire has already consumed 44 square miles of trees and brush and is just 5 % contained. Most of the homes in danger are located in Pollock Pines, approximately 50 miles east of California’s Capital.
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency Wednesday freeing funds to help with the fire near Sacramento and to assist in aid towards destroyed or damaged homes in the Oregon bordered town of Weed.
In Weed, firefighters went door to door to assess the damage done by the fire. A total of 150 structures were damaged or completely destroyed. A community Center, a library and two churches burned to the ground. Four firefighters also lost their homes while a school and the communities last wood products mill were severely damaged by the fires 40mph winds.
While firefighters braced for more winds on Wednesday night to battle the 375 acre fires, insurance companies found places for those who lost their homes to live.
An evacuation center was set up at the county fairgrounds in Yreka, and a section of Interstate 5 was shut down for a time because of the fire.
Burned neighborhoods are off limits, but people are finding ways back in to see the damage of their homes and to save any valuables from being looted. Pastor Bill Hofer of Weed Berean Church, said he was planning to return home despite the evacuation order to ensure his home was safe and secure and to deter vandalism.
Reports from Fox News:
“The temporary closure of the mill came as another blow to a town still suffering from logging cutbacks in the 1990s intended to protect fish and wildlife, Siskiyou County Supervisor Michael Kobseff said.
With 170 workers, the mill is the second-largest employer in Weed, a blue-collar town of 3,000 people in the shadow of Mount Shasta. He said some residents are anxious to rebuild.
“Then there are others still pretty well devastated,” he said. “But I think the community is just trying to pull together and get back on track.” ~ Fox News
Reports from USA Today include:
“The King Fire in El Dorado County swept through an estimated 8,600 acres, a jump from the 3,900 acres reported earlier in the day, and containment dropped to 5% from 10% as the fire spread in the high heat. The fire is located in a canyon of the south fork of the American River, northeast of the community of Pollock Pines.
The King Fire caused 160 mandatory evacuations. Thousands of Californians have been forced to flee wildfires burning across the state in the past several days, including one in Northern California, near Mt. Shasta, that fire officials said quickly damaged or destroyed 100 structures Monday.
Hundreds of firefighters were trying to contain that fire, which ignited Monday afternoon near the town of Weed in Siskyou County, about 10 miles from Mount Shasta. Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said more than 300 acres were scorched and more than 100 structures damaged or destroyed in just a few hours.”
Firefighters are fighting 11 major fires in the Golden State. In addition to destroying homes and forests, the wildfires have been spewing unhealthy smoke into the air, prompting air-quality alerts in portions of the state sweltering under high temperatures and low humidity.