Vastavam Web: A wildfire in northern California, burning for more than three weeks, erupted after being fueled by high winds, spreading at fierce speed over approximately 25 miles of mountainous terrain and parched foothills.
As thick smoke choked the air on Wednesday and cast a strange orange tint across much of the area, a number of small communities near Oroville were ordered to evacuate. The blaze even threatened the town of Paradise which was devastated just two years ago by the deadliest blaze in the state’s history, sparking panic that led to a traffic jam as residents were trying to escape.
In Washington, more acres burned in a single day than firefighters typically see all year round. The fires have also forced people to flee their homes in Oregon and Idaho. An explosion of polar air helped slow forest fires in Colorado and Montana.
This fire, which had doubled on Tuesday night and burned land that had not been burnt for 40 years, destroyed an office, two fire trucks, barracks and all the personal belongings of firefighters inside.California set a record with nearly 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) burned already this year, and historically the worst of the wildfire season doesn’t begin until fall.
Pacific Gas & Electric on Wednesday deployed more than 3,000 employees to inspect power lines before handing power to about 167,000 customers whose electricity was cut to prevent fires from being started by cables damaged by the wind. Some aerial inspections have been halted due to visibility limiting smoke, spokesman Jeff Smith said. Only a very small number of customers have been cut in Southern California.