Calif. wildfires threaten thousands of homes
A California Department of Forestry firefighter works on putting out a flare up along Highway 20 on the Wye Fire, near Clearlake Oaks, Calif., Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. Wildfires burn across the West, threatening hundreds of homes in California and killing a firefighter in Idaho. (AP Photo/The Press Democrat, John Burgess) (John Burgess)
(CBS News) Thousands are fleeing from their homes in Northern California this morning, as a fast moving wildfire continued to rage throughout the night. The Ponderosa fire is one of twelve wildfires ravaging California and the and has burned more than 12,000 acres of land across the "Golden State."
CBS affiliate KPHO reporter Tammy Leitner took a look at the damage in Red Bluff, Calif., Monday on "CBS This Morning."
Nearly 1,000 firefighters are battle the fast-moving blaze that has burned 19 square miles of land and destroyed seven homes. "This fire's path is directly headed towards many of these homes," said CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant said. "Conditions are just so dry."
The dry conditions allowed small fires ignited by Saturday's lightning strikes to spread rapidly through the rugged, thick forests.
Zachary Pritchard helped his family evacuate as their home burned to the ground. Fleeing the inferno, his arm caught fire as he rode away on an ATV. "I was on the road and there were flames on the road on either side, I looked up and everything was black it was like I was in a black box I just drove through it," he said. "I just couldn't breathe it was fire everywhere, you turn around everywhere and there was fire on all sides of you."
Firefighters are knocking down trees and working to build a fire line, but right now the wildfire is spreading with zero containment.
2012 has seen 42,000 wildfires causing devastation across six million acres of land in the U.S.
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