Northern California Wildfire Grows to 24 Square Miles

Northern California Wildfire Grows to 24 Square Miles

A firefighter battles the Max fire on June 16, 2024, in Lancaster, Calif. (Eric Thayer/AP)

Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin

6/19/2024

Updated: 6/19/2024

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Gusty winds fueled the Sites fire in Northern California’s Colusa County, northwest of Sacramento, helping the blaze grow to nearly 24 square miles by June 18, state fire officials reported.
Crews on site expect warm weather and continued winds to fuel the flames again Wednesday as they work around the north and south sides of the fire.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Chris Harvey, with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Management (Cal Fire), told The Epoch Times.
The fire was only 5 percent contained, meaning only about 5 percent of the burn’s perimeter has been surrounded by a control line that the fire will not cross, according to Cal Fire.
The large blaze continued to burn Wednesday mostly in a remote agricultural area of Colusa County, sending smoke to the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe, and everywhere in between.
The fire started Monday afternoon in a rural area at Lodoga Road and Wilson Creek in Colusa County, about 75 miles north of Sacramento. Officials ordered the evacuation of about 700 people and closed roads in the area.
Residents living south of Leesville Road along Bear Valley Road to Highway 20, and residents living along Highway 20 to Leesville Road remain under an evacuation warning. Livestock has not been evacuated, according to Mr. Harvey.
Colusa Veterans Hall on East Main Street in Colusa was opened to shelter evacuees.
The evacuation orders and road closures were expected to remain in place Wednesday.
“It still is very much an active firefight, so we’re keeping road closures and evacuations in place,” Mr. Harvey said.
Investigators are still looking into what started the fire.
The fire was burning in tall grass and brush. The area is made up of ranchland, homes, and outbuildings related mostly to agriculture. As of Wednesday, no structures had been destroyed.
Nearly 750 firefighting personnel are battling the fire, aided by seven helicopters, 34 fire engines, 16 bulldozers, and 15 water tenders, Cal Fire reported.
Cal Fire’s unit covering Sonoma, Napa, and other northern counties reported over 1,700 of the unit’s personnel were fighting the Point fire and the Sites fire Tuesday.
The unit’s coverage area has had more acres burned over the last three days than in the previous three years combined, according to the unit’s post published Tuesday on X.
Smoke from the Sites fire in Colusa County drifted into Lake and Mendocino counties Wednesday and was moving north into Trinity and Humboldt counties, according to the National Weather Service’s Eureka office.
“The smoke will cause hazy skies in these areas today,” the weather service reported.
The Sites fire was also sending smoke into the Lake Tahoe Basin, the National Weather Service’s Reno office reported Tuesday.
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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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