Skip to main content

Climate

Thousands evacuated as California's largest wildfire of the year flames on

During the weekend the McKinney Fire, as the wildfire is called, spread in the Klamath National Forest near the California-Oregon border. It expanded around 52,498 acres, forcing more than 2,000 residents to evacuate.

McKinney Fire
Incendio McKinney | @desertgranite

August 1, 2022 7:20am

Updated: August 1, 2022 11:23am

A California wildfire significantly grew in size this weekend, becoming the largest wildfire this year and prompting thousands of evacuations.

The McKinney Fire, as the wildfire is called, began on Friday afternoon in the Klamath National Forest near the California-Oregon border. Over the weekend it expanded around 52,498 acres, forcing more than 2,000 residents to evacuate.

As of Sunday evening, the fire was completely uncontained as lighting and thunderstorms complicated the firefighter’s efforts to fight the blaze. According to the National Weather Service, “abundant lightning” is expected through Monday.

"These conditions can be extremely dangerous for firefighters, as winds can be erratic and extremely strong, causing fire to spread in any direction," forest service officials said in a news release.

The California-Oregon border area is under a Red Flag Warning, as dry lightning, low humidity, strong winds, and high temperatures are creating conditions that precipitate the fire.

"Klamath National Forest is a big and beautiful forest, but it also has some steep and rugged terrain. And with that, coupled with the high temperatures, low humidity, they all come into play and make it a very extreme fire danger situation right now," Tom Stokesberry of the US Forest Service told CNN affiliate KTVL.

An estimated 648 firefighters are battling the blaze from the ground and the sky. However, multiple evacuation orders and warnings are in effect.

Around 2,500 residents have been ordered to evacuate Siskyou County, said Courtney Kreider, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

On Saturday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for Siskiyou County, claiming that the fire had already destroyed several homes and threatened critical infrastructure.

The measure “allows for more flexibility in the face of an unfolding crisis, including the suspension of regulatory statutes that may impede the emergency response and recovery efforts,” the statement reads.