Wildfire prompts evacuation order for thousands in Northern California as ‘exceptionally dangerous’ heat builds in the West | CNN (2024)

Wildfire prompts evacuation order for thousands in Northern California as ‘exceptionally dangerous’ heat builds in the West | CNN (1)

Thousands were ordered to evacuate the city of Oroville due to the wildfire.


Thousands have been ordered to evacuate in Northern California due to a wildfire burning in Butte County, as an “exceptionally dangerous and lethal” heat wave in the West ramps up.

Soaring temperatures – which will continue into next week – have dried out already-parched vegetation, increasing the wildfire risk across the region.

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the area of the fire, clearing the path for additional resources, including the possibility of mobilizing the California National Guard to assist.

Thegovernor’s proclamationcites “continued high temperatures throughout the day and night, dry conditions, and strong winds” that have increased the intensity and spread of the fire.

A local emergency was also declared, andevacuations were orderedon Tuesday evening for some residentsinthe city of Oroville,as the ThompsonFirecontinues to burn inButte County, accordingto local officials.

Cal Fire said the blaze has grown to more than 3,500 acres and was zero percent contained in an update around noon local time on Wednesday.

One of the people who evacuated Tuesday was Arielle Penick, 24, who also left her home from Paradise during the deadly 2018 Camp Fire.

Wildfire prompts evacuation order for thousands in Northern California as ‘exceptionally dangerous’ heat builds in the West | CNN (2)

The Thompson Fire is zero percent contained as of Wednesday morning, according to CalFire.

On Tuesday afternoon, Penick, who is pregnant, packed up her things in Oroville with her 5-year-old son, her fiancé and her fiancé’s two kids.

“We just see a pummel of smoke in the sky. And the PSTD from the Camp Fire kicked in instantly, especially with how big the cloud of smoke was,” Penick said.

“We gathered as much stuff as we could. Our three dogs, our dog crates, all the dog food, my kids’ favorite toys, all their diapers and wipes, their favorite bedding, their chairs,” she said.

Penick is now staying at the home of a friend – who is also a Camp Fire survivor.

4 firefighters hurt as more than 1,000 battle blaze

Four firefighters battling the blaze have been injured, Cal Fire said. More than 1,400 firefighters are working to suppress the flames, along with eight helicopters and numerous air tankers, the agency said.

About 13,000 people inButte County, including northeastern parts of Oroville,were ordered to evacuate,according to the sheriff’s office.

Oroville isabout 65 milesnorthof Sacramento with a population of around 15,000. The town sits about 20 miles south of Paradise, where the Camp Fire killed more than 70 people in 2018. Some of the residents impacted by that fire ended up relocating to Oroville.

The city of Oroville’s July 4 fireworks celebration was canceled by California State Parks on Wednesday as firefighters continue to battle the fire, the department said in a news release.

“Due to the large evacuations and damages caused by theThompson Fire,State Parks and partner agencies … have a large number of resources responding to protect the community and get everyone back home as quickly as possible,” State Parks said. “These agencies also have employees with families displaced by these evacuations who are tirelessly assisting the community of Lake Oroville.”

Red flag warnings are in effect across the West, including in the fire zone, because of extreme heat, gusty winds and low humidity. Already high temperatures will only ramp up Wednesday as an exceptional, long-lasting heat wave begins.

Oroville will seerecord temperatures of 110 or more each of the next five days – Saturday may reach an all-time record high of 113 – making it that much harder for fire crews to fight the blaze.

Wildfire prompts evacuation order for thousands in Northern California as ‘exceptionally dangerous’ heat builds in the West | CNN (3)

Several high temperature records have been broken in California, with more expected this week.

TheBasin Fire in Fresno County hasburned more than 13,000 acres and is currently only 26% contained.

“Outdoor burning and especially fireworks arenotrecommended,” theweather serviceinSan Francisco warned ahead of the Independence Day holiday.

Triple-digit temperatures across parts of US

Nationwide, more than 150 million people across at least 22 states in parts oftheMid-South and West are under heat alerts.

The heat wave is “exceptionally dangerous and lethal,” the weather service in San Francisco said, warning “an event of this scale, magnitude, andlongevity will likely rival anything we’veseeninthelast18yearsforinland areas.”

The heat began Tuesday across parts oftheWest, where numerous daily high temperature records were tied or broken:

  • Ukiah, California: 110 degrees (tied record setin1924 and 2013)
  • Concord Airport, California: 107 degrees (old record 104 degrees, setin2001)
  • Santa Rosa Airport, California: 106 degrees (old record 101 degrees, setin2001)
  • Napa Airport, California: 102 degrees (old record 101, setin2001)
  • San Jose, California: 102 degrees (tied record, setin1970)
Wildfire prompts evacuation order for thousands in Northern California as ‘exceptionally dangerous’ heat builds in the West | CNN (4)

The National Weather Service in San Francisco warned people not to use fireworks in the dangerous weather conditions.

Some cities could swelter through multiple days of temperatures well above 100 degrees with some, including Sacramento, potentiallyseeing a full week of highs over 105 degrees.

Most of California outside oftheimmediate coastline is under excessiveheatwarnings. High temperatures fromtheupper 90s to as high as 115 degrees are possible.

Las Vegas couldseehigh temperatures all week over 110 degrees.Thecurrent record is 10 consecutive days set lastyear. Death Valleycouldseehigh temperatures at or above 120 degrees all week.

Heatis expected to spread totheNorthwest and to parts of Arizonaincluding Phoenix bytheweekend, where triple-digit temperatures are expected, with parts of Arizonaseeing highs above 110 degrees.

A 10-year-old died Tuesday in Arizona after experiencing a heat-related emergency while hiking with family in South Mountain Park and Preserve, authorities said. First responders performed an active mountain rescue and airlifted the child to the hospital, where he later died, the Phoenix Police Department said.

On Saturday, a 69-year-old hiker from Austin, Texas, died at the Grand Canyon, according to the National Park Service. Scott Sims became unconscious on the trail and attempts by bystanders and paramedics to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Park rangers warn that summertime temperatures on the trail can reach over 120 degrees in the shade and advise not hiking during the day, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Efforts to assist hikers can be delayed during the summer due to increased need and limited resources, the park service said.

CNN’s Taylor Galgano, Amanda Musa, Lauren Mascarenhas, Cheri Mossburg, Cindy Von Quednow and Christina Zdanowicz contributed to this report.

Wildfire prompts evacuation order for thousands in Northern California as ‘exceptionally dangerous’ heat builds in the West | CNN (2024)


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