Residents evacuate after new wildfire erupts near US blaze
LOWER LAKE, California (AP) — For the second time in as many weeks, residents had to evacuate their homes after a new wildfire erupted near a destructive blaze that has been burning for days in Northern California’s rocky hills north of San Francisco.
The new blaze, which erupted Sunday several miles away from the community of Lower Lake, had burned 9 square miles (23 sq. kilometers) by Monday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
Evacuations were ordered after the fire doubled in size overnight.
Authorities couldn’t say how many homes were evacuated or how many people were told to be prepared to flee. The fire was burning about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of San Francisco.
No homes have been destroyed and no injuries have been reported.
Meanwhile, firefighters have nearly surrounded the larger blaze that started about two weeks ago and burned 109 square miles (280 sq. kilometers).
That fire destroyed 43 homes, but all evacuations have been lifted. Students in the Middletown Unified School District could start classes next Tuesday, but it might be later depending on where the fire burns.
Fire officials are investigating the causes of both fires. There have been five arson arrests related to smaller fires in five weeks.
Here’s a look at other wildfires burning up Western states:
A U.S. Forest Service firefighter was killed in the Lake Tahoe area after he was struck by a tree while battling a wildfire — the second firefighter killed in a California blaze since the summer wildfire season got underway.
Michael Hallenbeck, 21, of Shingle Springs, California, was hit Saturday during the initial attack on a fire that broke out south of the Echo Summit mountain pass.
On July 30, a firefighter was killed by a wildfire in the Modoc National Forest while he scouted the area for ways to fight the blaze. Forest Service firefighter David Ruhl, of Rapid City, South Dakota, had been on temporary assignment since June in California.
On Sunday, hundreds of people turned out in Rapid City to pay their respects at a procession and memorial service for Ruhl. Forest Service Associate Chief Mary Wagner attended, saying Ruhl’s death was “felt by every member of the Forest Service.”
Authorities lifted evacuation orders for most of the 1,000 homes threatened by a wildfire near the Arizona-California line, one of several blazing across the tinder-dry West.
The fire in Arizona’s Mohave Valley area chewed through 10 square miles (26 sq. kilometers) and remained uncontrolled Monday.