McKinney fire: Four dead as California wildfire gets bigger and remains uncontained

·2-min read

Two more people have been killed in Northern California’s McKinney Fire bringing the death toll to four.

The blaze, which started on Friday, has quickly become the largest wildfire in California so far this year.

As of Tuesday, it had burned through over 56,000 acres, nearly the size of Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s office confirmed two additional deaths. The bodies were discovered at two separate homes along State Route 96 after the fire had burned through the area. The victims were not identified.

The two other victims had been found in a burnt-out vehicle in a residential driveway near the community of Klamath River, California.

No one in the area is currently unaccounted for.

The McKinney fire is 0 per cent contained, the state fire agency, Cal Fire, reported on Tuesday.

Despite this, some progress has been made in controlling the blaze as crews attacked the perimeter. Firefighters were also helped by rainfall in the area, close to the Oregon border, earlier this week, The Associated Press reported.

Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for much of Siskiyou County including part of Yreka, the county’s largest city. Almost 2,000 people are under evacuation orders.

Paisley Bamberg told AP that she was sheltering in Yreka after she and her six children had to evacuate the motel they were living at.

“There might not be much there when we get back,” Ms Bamberg said.

Parts of the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs north to south along the west coast of the US, have also been closed. Dozens of hikers have been evacuated.

Wildfires are expected to become more common as the climate crisis causes more heatwaves and intense drought.

There are four large wildfires currently burning in California, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. They include two wildfires burning in the vicinity of Yosemite National Park in central California, which have threatened the famous giant sequoia trees.

Over 5.7 million acres have burned since 1 January, 2022 in the US, an area more than five times the size of Rhode Island.

That’s vastly more than the 10-year average by this point in the year of around 3.6 million acres. Large fires are burning across the US include in Alaska, Nebraska, Idaho and Montana.

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