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California Burning: State of Emergency Declared

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Multiple fires are scorching California

Two fires raged in the Sacramento, California area destroying homes and killing at least one person. Breezy and dry weather caused multiple blazes to burn out of control.

Valley Fire

The Valley Fire in Lake County, which started on Saturday, grew more than 40,000 acres in twelve hours. The fire has now reached 61,000 acres at only five percent containment. In Middletown, 400 homes were destroyed. At least four injuries and one fatality are attributed to this fire. Mandatory evacuations are still in place for several communities in the area.

Butte Fire

Just to the southeast of Sacramento, the Butte Fire has burned more than 71,000 acres. Firefighters were able to make headway overnight, increasing containment to thirty percent. The damage left in its wake is staggering. At least 135 homes, 79 outbuildings, and four other structures have been destroyed. An additional 6,400 structures remain at risk. Some evacuation orders are lifting, but many are still asked to seek refuge at near by shelters.

The forecast should help with fire mitigation. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible across the state of California through the week.

Fatalities & Injuries
Multiple injuries:

Today, CAL FIRE Chief Ken Pimlott and Chief Teter were able to check on each of the four Copter 104 crew members. Fire…

Posted by CAL FIRE on Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fatalities

Thousands left in the dark

According to PG&E: As Cal Fire continued to battle the Butte Fire in Amador and Calaveras counties, PG&E crews worked to restore power to some 5,600 customers who remained without power on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 13).

But it isn’t easy. The fire had charred 65,000 acres and was burning in very rugged terrain, making it difficult for fire crews to fight and contain the fire, and for utility crews to access infrastructure like power poles and lines to assess the damage and make the necessary repairs.

“The most challenging aspect of this fire is the coordination activities to ensure employee safety with respect to the fire. We’ve sent people into areas that we were cleared to go into for assessments only to have the fire get blown back, forcing us to quickly vacate the area,” said Wayne Pouncey, incident commander for PG&E.

The fire has damaged power poles and lines, causing outages in numerous Sierra foothills communities. PG&E has completed assessment on about 2,200 of 5,500 utility poles that it has been able to gain safe access to with CAL FIRE approval. So far, about 100 poles will need to be replaced, along with power lines, cross arms and other equipment. PG&E expects that number to grow as it is able to safely enter burn areas.

Emergency Declaration

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Watch

Escaping Anderson Springs During Valley Fire

Stay with WeatherNation as we learn more and update you on this developing story.

Headline photo: California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services

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