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article imageFast-moving wildfire at Oregon-California border out of control

By Karen Graham     Jul 7, 2018 in Environment
A wildfire that leaped over the Klamath River before surging into the woodlands near the Oregon-California border claimed the first fire-season fatality in the state Friday morning and kept fire crews racing to contain it all day.
The blaze on the Oregon-California border is but one of dozens across the state of California. Called the Klamathon Fire, it apparently started on Thursday afternoon near the tiny town of Hornbrook (Siskiyou County), 14 miles south of the Oregon border.
By Thursday evening - fueled by strong winds and dry conditions - the fire grew to 5,000 acres, prompting multiple evacuations and shutting down Interstate 5. By Friday, the out-of-control fire had destroyed at least 40 structures and damaged five more said Sheriff Jon Lopey, according to ABC affiliate,
The Siskiyou County Sheriff's office also confirmed a civilian fatality from the fire but declined to identify the person while they notify next of kin. The person was found inside a building and the cause of death is under investigation.
Cal Fire update on Saturday
According to Cal Fire, the Klamathon Fire now covers 21,803 acres. It is 5 percent contained. The increase is due to fire mapping. An evacuation warning has been given to Klamath River Estates, east of Black Mountain to Desavado Road, south of Copco Road to Ager Beswick Road.
Firefighters have been hampered by the rocky steep terrain, heavy timber and dense undergrowth. The Klamathon fire is just the latest of three blazes that have broken out in Northern California over the past two weeks.
Looking at the broader picture, and the cluster of fires from San Diego on up to Yreka (Siskiyou County), Tim Chavez, a fire behavior analyst with Cal Fire’s Incident Management Team 4, says the fires have created an unusually early fire season that has officials on edge, reports SFGate.
“Some of the fire behavior we’re seeing now is more of what we’d normally see later, like in September,” said Cal Fire Capt. Amy Head. “Cooler temperatures would obviously be helpful, but we’re not going to see that right away.”
Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Thursday in Siskiyou County, noting that residents were in “extreme peril.” As of Thursday this year, wildfires have burned more than 2.9 million acres, compared with an annual average of about 2.4 million over the last 10 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, reports Reuters.
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