The death toll in California’s worst wildfires of the year has risen to 4

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AmericaCalifornia wildfires death toll rises to 4

Four people have died since the McKinney fire started, according to the latest report from California officials.

The so-called “McKinney” fire covered 22,700 hectares.

AFP

At least four people have died in California’s biggest wildfires of the year, and local officials warned Tuesday that the death toll could rise.

The fire, named “McKinney”, has been raging since Friday and was still not under control on Tuesday. It spreads over 22,700 hectares and especially threatens the small town of Yreka. “We have four confirmed deaths and that number could change,” a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office in Siskiyou County, where a state of emergency has been declared, told AFP. On Sunday morning, two dead bodies were found in the burnt vehicle. On Monday, two additional victims were found at two separate residences, according to a tweet from the sheriff’s office.

At least 3,000 people were affected by evacuation orders around the Klamath River town near the Oregon border. “Our goal today is to communicate effectively with people and we ask them to obey evacuation orders,” the spokesperson said. “Protecting human lives and property is our priority.”

A brief silence

“When we left, everything was burning,” local resident Sherry Marchetti-Perrault told the Los Angeles Times. “It happened so fast. We left with only the clothes on our backs. We couldn’t breathe or see anything.” Starting Sunday evening, firefighters benefited from a short lull provided by better weather, with cooler temperatures and scattered rainfall.

But with the weather service’s warning active due to the threat of lightning, hope was cautious. After a lull till Tuesday afternoon, more thundershowers are expected, they said.

“Vegetation in the area is extremely dry and the continued threat of thunderstorms and associated strong and unpredictable winds could rekindle the fire,” the California Fire Agency warned. Bulldozers were positioned to protect buildings near the town of Yreka (about 8,000 people).

The drought continues

Despite the danger, some residents chose to wait until the last moment before evacuating. “I’m trying not to leave early because I’m helping my mother, who is not in good health, to get around,” Rafael Franco, a resident who was ordered to move, told AFP Forced Evacuation. .

“At the last minute, if I see the fire crossing the hill we’re on, we’ll take what we can and hope for the best,” he adds.

Marjie Lawrence, who rushed out of the Klamath River Friday night, said she later returned to her home to collect personal belongings. “We took things in case the house was completely burnt down, the things we needed, but not enough,” he explained. The fire season is expected to last several months in California, which is experiencing persistent drought conditions. The frequency and intensity of these fires is increasing due to global warming.

(AFP)

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