California’s Largest Wildfire This Year Forces Thousands To Flee, 2 Found Dead Inside Car

REUTERS/Fred Greaves

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The McKinney wildfire in California erupted over the weekend, becoming the largest in the state thus far in 2022.

The blaze broke out Friday night in northern Siskiyou County, burning more than 50,000 acres by Monday, according to the BBC. Two thousand residents and hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail have left the immediate area as an unknown number of homes lay in ashes, the outlet reported.

Two people were found dead inside of a vehicle on Sunday morning in a path burned out by the fire, Siskiyou County Sheriffs said in a statement. No further information has been released on their identity, the statement noted.

The wildfire is 0% contained as of Monday morning, the local fire service reported. Heavy smoke quelled the growth of the fire on Sunday, but grounded firefighting aircraft throughout the area, CNN reported.

Lightning and thunderstorms are anticipated in the coming days, which may complicate containment efforts, the outlet reported. The wildfire was further “intensified and spread by dry fuels, extreme drought conditions, high temperatures, winds and lightning storms,” Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said, according to the BBC.

Democratic Oregon state Rep. Dacia Grayber was camping just over the border from California with her husband over the weekend, both of whom are firefighters, according to a statement on her Twitter. The couple awoke to orange skies, lightning, falling ash and hot wind gusts, and left their campground in case of deployment, she said. (RELATED: Thousands Threatened By Wildfires As Blazes, Intense Drought Sweeps Through New Mexico)

“In 22+ years of fire I’ve never experienced anything like this fire behavior at night. It felt absolutely surreal and not just a little apocalyptic,” she wrote in another tweet.

More than 650 firefighters are currently battling the fires, according to the BBC.