Despite the lull, the biggest fire of the year in California still threatening

Despite lull, California’s biggest fire of the year still threatening

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">The Sheriff's Deputy stands in front of a burned home as rescue workers recover the remains of a victim of the McKinney Fire, Monday, August 1, 2022.

Rain and better weather on Tuesday brought some respite to firefighters in northern California, where the largest blaze of the year, which claimed two lives, still remained out of control.

The fire, dubbed McKinney, has been raging since Friday. It extends over 22,500 hectares, and threatens in particular the small town of Yreka.

Thanks to cooler temperatures and sparse rainfall, no expansion of the fire's perimeter was observed, authorities wrote late Monday.

But the Optimism remained cautious, as an alert from weather services due to the threat of lightning remained active. After a lull through early Tuesday afternoon, further thunderstorms are expected, they said.

“Vegetation in the area is extremely dry and the continued threat of thunderstorms, and associated strong and unpredictable winds, could cause the fire to flare up again.

— California Fire Department

Bulldozers have been positioned to protect buildings near the town of Yreka ( 8000 inhabitants).

On Sunday morning, the bodies of two deceased people were discovered in a charred vehicle further north, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office, where a state of emergency has been declared.

Evacuation orders have been issued in this area of ​​California, neighboring Oregon.

I'm holding on, and trying not to leave too soon because I'm helping my mother who is not in good physical health to get around, confided to AFP Rafael Franco, a resident who received the mandatory evacuation order.

If, at the last minute, I see fire crossing the ridge where we are, then we'll grab what we can and go, and move forward hoping for the best, he adds.

The fire, dubbed “McKinney”, which has been raging since Friday, covers 22,500 hectares.

< p class="e-p">Marjie Lawrence, who hastily left the town of Klamath River on Friday night, said she returned to her home to collect personal belongings. We took stuff in case the house totally burned down, things we wanted, but not enough, she explained.

Fire season in California, State in a situation of persistent drought, is expected to last several months. The frequency and strength of these fires are exacerbated by global warming.

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