Los Angeles — Crews battled nearly a dozen major wildfires across California on Monday that have forced hundreds of people to flee, destroyed dozens of homes and structures and charred thousands of acres of forest land left bone dry by the state’s record drought.
The most destructive of the 11 blazes, the Courtney Fire, quickly blackened 320 acres east of Yosemite after it erupted on Sunday, burning several homes to the ground, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Some 1,000 residents in and around the foothill community of Oakhurst and near Bass Lake were evacuated ahead of the flames, which were 20 percent contained by Monday morning as California baked in a heat wave that drove temperatures into triple digits.
Further north, about 800 firefighters were battling a 3,900-acre blaze, dubbed the King Fire, raging in heavy timber and steep terrain in El Dorado County. Nearly 250 homes were under a mandatory evacuation order, while residents of another 400 houses were advised they could voluntarily leave, the county sheriff’s office said.
Cal Fire reported one injury associated with the fire, which was 10 percent contained and spreading rapidly on Monday, but further details were not immediately available.
Meanwhile, authorities near Los Angeles lifted an evacuation order on Sunday as firefighters made headway against a 1,600-acre wildfire that forced hundreds of people to flee their homes as it swept through drought-stricken woods.
The state’s largest current wildfire, the Happy Camp Complex fire, has burned more than 111,000 acres along the state’s northern edge, the Los Angeles Times reports.
More than 1,000 firefighters backed by nine helicopters worked around the clock to contain the Silverado Fire, which broke out Friday in the Cleveland National Forest and spread rapidly on Saturday.
A mandatory evacuation order affecting 217 homes in and around Silverado Canyon, a gorge in the Santa Ana Mountains, was lifted on Sunday, though the area remained closed to non-residents, theOrange County Sheriff’s Department said.
This year’s wildfire season, which typically runs from May until October, was on track to be the most destructive on record, according to Cal Fire.
In Oregon, residents on opposite ends of the state were warned they may need to evacuate as high temperatures fed two growing wildfires.
Outside Portland, a campground and RV park were closed by the so-called 36 Pit Fire, which grew to 1,200 acres overnight. Six households were placed on evacuation standby, while the Red Cross said about 20 campers and RV residents had sought help at an emergency shelter.
In southwest Oregon, another fire was threatening 10 homes plus critical communication infrastructure, fire officials said. No evacuations were ordered, but homeowners were put on standby to depart.