Three Rivers, Calif. — California firefighters battled
The fire had scorched more than 133 square miles after growing by nearly 11 square miles in 24 hours, according to a Sequoia National Forest statement. Just 2% of the fire was contained.
Click here to see the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's (CalFire) map of active wild fires in the state.
Numerous small communities were under evacuation orders or warnings to be prepared to leave. Some 2,000 residences and 100 commercial properties were threatened. Two commercial structures have been destroyed.
To the north in Sequoia National Park, two fires that were ignited by lightning and then merged covered more than 73 square miles after experiencing large growth during the weekend. The KNP Complex was 8% contained, according to a statement from Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, which have both been forced to close.
On the fire's northern perimeter, firefighters used controlled burns to clear vegetation from Muir Grove, a hidden group of giant sequoias found at the end of a trail.
A week ago, the famous ancient trees of Sequoia National Park's Giant Forest were protected from the fire because of its history of prescribed burns. The bases of some trees were also wrapped in fire-resistant material.
In the far north end of California's Central Valley, the
Firefighters were focusing on mopping up and patrolling to prevent further spread of the fire, said Josh Bischof, an operations section chief with the incident management team.
A 30-year-old woman was arrested last week on suspicion of starting the Fawn Fire. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the woman told authorities she had attempted to boil water from a puddle after getting thirsty while attempting to hike to Canada. She said she was concerned the water contained bear urine and hoped to purify it, but that she believed she'd failed to light a fire and then continued walking.
A historic drought in the American West tied to climate change is making wildfires harder to fight. It has killed millions of trees in California alone. Scientists say climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.
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