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Home LATEST NEWS California Wildfire Threatens Communities in the Sierra Nevada Foothills

California Wildfire Threatens Communities in the Sierra Nevada Foothills

SACRAMENT, Calif. (Reuters) – A fast-growing California wildfire threatened a string of small communities in the foothills northeast of Sacramento on Wednesday, even as firefighters moved forward to contain a flank that had grown rapidly the day before.

The Mosquito Fire has burned nearly 59,000 acres (24,000 hectares), forcing the evacuation of some 11,000 people in Foresthill, Volcanoville, Georgetown and other communities between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.

The fire, one of a dozen burning in California on Wednesday, grew by about 3,000 acres overnight and was down from 25% containment to 20%, said Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Calif. (Cal Fire).

The ongoing drought and rugged canyon terrain have created the best conditions for the fire to spread quickly, though strong winds that could drive it further are not expected, McLean said.

The fire spread rapidly Tuesday because a weather system that had kept clouds and smoke trapped over the fire area was removed, making more oxygen available to fuel its growth, he said. Similar conditions could fuel further growth on Wednesday, she said.

Cal Fire urged some 50 homes that have not yet evacuated to do so, saying the worst may not be over and staying home endangers their lives and the safety of firefighters.

Last week, an extended period of extreme heat worsened fire conditions and threatened the state’s power grid as demand hit an all-time high, but the weather turned cooler over the weekend.

Power company PG&E Corp said last week there was electrical activity near one of its transmission poles in the area around Oxbow Reservoir where the fire started. The company also said the US Forest Service had placed caution tape around the base of the post.

Power company equipment has been blamed for setting numerous wildfires, including some of the deadliest and most destructive in the state.

The company sought bankruptcy protection after wildfires started by its equipment in 2017 and 2018 raised the utility’s potential liabilities to tens of billions of dollars.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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