Northern California town hit hard by wildfire

A quick-moving wildfire was "able to rage right into" the small town of Weed in northern California, a fire official said.

By Frances Burns
A firefighter watches over a fast moving wildfire in California. (File/UPI/Earl S. Cryer)
A firefighter watches over a fast moving wildfire in California. (File/UPI/Earl S. Cryer) | License Photo

SACRAMENTO, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- A wildfire whipped by 40 mph winds gutted 100 buildings in a small northern California town while another spread to almost 12,000 acres on the American River.

At least five other major fires burned around the state, including the massive Happy Camp Complex, which has charred more than 100,000 acres in Klamath National Forest in northern California.


The Boles fire, which began Monday in Siskiyou County, quickly spread to the century-old lumbermill town of Weed. About half the town's 3,000 residents evacuated to the county fairgrounds.

"The fire was able to rage right into the community before we were able to get fire equipment into the scene," Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. "Tomorrow we are deploying a damage assessment team to determine the exact damage done by the fire."

By early Tuesday, the fire was 20 percent contained after spreading across 375 acres.

In El Dorado County, northeast of Sacramento, the King fire jumped to 8,600 acres Monday, officials said. The fire was first reported Saturday and remained small Sunday.


The fire grew by another 3,000 acres overnight. Officials said it was only 5 percent contained.

More than 1,500 firefighters were on the scene, aided by 182 fire engines and planes spreading retardant. Local schools were closed and residents of the thinly populated area were warned to evacuate.

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