Thousands flee as flames race across dry rural California

posted by Associated Press -

From the Associated Press and posted by our media partner at WOOD TV:

CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Wind-driven wildfires destroyed buildings and threatened hundreds of others as they raced across dry brush in rural Northern California.

The Pawnee Fire, which broke out Saturday near the community of Clearlake Oaks, has destroyed 12 buildings and threatened an additional 600. As of Sunday, there was no containment and it burned across about 12 square miles (31 sq. kilometers). Authorities ordered people to evacuate all homes in the Spring Valley area, where about 3,000 people live.

"What we're stressing is that people, when they get the evacuation order, they heed it immediately and get out and stay out until it is safe to return," state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said. "This is one of four large fires burning in Northern California. It's a good reminder that fire season is upon us."

Erratic wind and heat gripping a swath of California from San Jose to the Oregon border drove the flames, which were north of the wine country region where devastating wildfires killed 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses last October.

Farther north, a fire spanning about three-quarters of a mile in Tehama County destroyed "multiple residential and commercial buildings," Cal Fire said. But firefighters appeared to be making good progress — the Stoll Fire was halfway contained and some evacuees were allowed to return home, authorities said.

Click for more on the story courtesy of the Associated Press.

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