RESCUE (AP) – Firefighters on Sunday were taken over by a forest fire that displaced thousands of people and destroyed more than 100 buildings near Shasta Lake in northern California.
Lighter winds and cooler temperatures slowed Fawn Fire as it moved toward the shores of California’s largest man-made lake and away from populated areas north of the city of Redding, allowing crews to increase inclusion to 35%, California Department of Forestry and Fire It states protection in a statement.
The fire at one point threatened 9,000 buildings, but the number dropped to 2,340 on Sunday.
Light rain was in the forecast for Monday. Fire officials said crews will begin to take advantage of the calmer weather to burn out burns near the lake to expand control lines, Record Searchlight reported.
“We are going to keep it. It’s being done this week, ”said Bret Gouvea, head of Cal Fire’s Shasta-Trinity unit, at a community meeting Saturday night.
Preliminary assessments showed that 131 homes and other buildings had burned down, Cal Fire said. This number is likely to change as teams walk down the street investigating the destruction.
Authorities have arrested a 30-year-old woman suspected of starting the fire, which broke out Wednesday and grew explosively in hot and windy weather in the region about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco.
Alexandra Souverneva of Palo Alto was charged Friday with felony criminal mischief for firefighting with an improvement due to a declared state of emergency in California, Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said.
Souverneva pleaded not guilty. She is also suspected of having started other fires in Shasta County and throughout the state, Bridgett said. It is not immediately known if she has a lawyer who could speak on her behalf.
Fawn Fire has charred more than 13 square kilometers of heavy wood.
It’s the latest destructive flame to send Californians on the run this year. Fires have burned more than 3,750 square miles so far in 2021 and destroyed more than 3,200 homes, commercial properties and other structures.
These fires include a couple of large forest fires that have been burning for more than two weeks in the heart of a giant sequoia land on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. More than 1,700 firefighters battled KNP complex fires that covered 70 square kilometers on Sunday.
Nearby, Windy Fire grew significantly Saturday as it drove uphill and winds blew embers that ignited spot fires. The fire, which was ignited by lightning on September 9, has burned 122 square miles of trees and brushed on the Tule River Indian Reservation and in the Sequoia National Forest. The containment shrank from 5% to 2% on Sunday.
A historic drought in the American West, linked to climate change, is making fires harder to fight. It has killed millions of trees in California alone. Researchers say climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the last 30 years and will continue to make the weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.
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