REDDING, Calif., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A Northern California man found dead in his mobile home is the first fatality in California's busy 2013 wildfire season, authorities said Wednesday.
Brian Stanley Henry's home in the small town of Igo, 9 miles west of Redding, was one of 30 destroyed by the Clover Fire, The (Redding) Record reported. Mo Hern, a spokeswoman for the Shasta County coroner, said Henry apparently ignored an evacuation order and appeared to have burned to death.
Henry died a few days after his 55th birthday.
The Clover Fire had spread to about 8,000 acres Wednesday and was 50 percent contained. Authorities said the fire had gutted more than 100 buildings, 30 of them dwellings.
Julie Hutchinson, a Cal Fire battalion chief, said Henry's was the first death from the 5,329 fires that have been reported in California so far in 2013, the San Francisco Chronicle said. She said there were six deaths in 2012, when 3,925 fires were reported.
The massive Rim Fire, the third largest in California history, continued to burn in the Yosemite National Park area Wednesday. The fire has spread to almost 400 square miles and is now 80 percent contained.
Hutchinson said media campaigns on the need to prepare for evacuation have helped reduce the death toll.
"We've been lucky considering how many fires we're having this year," Hutchinson said. "It's been a long summer. I think people are more aware -- if they see smoke, they get out fast."