New California Wildfire Forces Evacuation Less Than 48 Hours After Starting

by Jennifer Shea
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The Fawn Fire started on Wednesday afternoon north of Redding, California. And by Thursday evening, Northern California authorities were already ordering evacuations due to the wildfire.

The fire has since spread to an area larger than 1 square mile, or about 1,200 acres. And thus far, it’s only 5 percent contained. It is tearing through the unincorporated Mountain Gate area. That’s at the far north end of California’s Central Valley, Fox News reports.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office sent out a mandatory evacuation order Thursday. It’s for Shasta County residents near Mountain Gate and Shasta Lake.

“All roads off of Old Oregon Trail in both directions between Bear Mountain north to Interstate 5 must evacuate immediately,” the sheriff’s office tweeted.

Wildfire Is Spreading Fast

The wildfire is moving in a south to southwesterly direction. It’s on the east side of Interstate 5. As of Thursday afternoon, it had not yet crossed the interstate. But Cal Fire said the fire threatens roughly 2,000 structures.

As Thursday progressed, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office expanded its mandatory evacuation order. So it now includes all roads west of Dry Creek, north of Squaw Grass Trail, east of Creek Trail and south of Bear Mountain, the Redding Record Searchlight reports.

Residents on all roads west of Interstate 5 to Ashby Road received an evacuation warning. That’s the area between Pine Grove and Shasta Dam.

In a sign of how fast the fire is spreading, Shasta College in northeast Redding evacuated Thursday. It had been serving as a staging area for residents fleeing other parts of the county.

Palo Alto Woman Suspected of Starting Fire

Meanwhile, authorities have arrested Palo Alto resident Alexandra Souverneva, 30. She is suspected of starting the wildfire.

Souverneva stumbled out of the brush near the fire line at around 8 p.m. yesterday. She told firefighters she was dehydrated and needed medical help, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Moreover, that followed reports from workers around the canyon where the wildfire started of a woman trespassing and acting strangely nearby.

Firefighters brought Souverneva away from the fire for evaluation and treatment. But upon talking with Souverneva, Cal Fire and law enforcement grew convinced that she had started the fire. They arrested her on the spot.

Blazes Devastate California

Elsewhere, more than 9,000 firefighters are battling the wildfires that are ravaging the state. There are currently at least 10 active wildfires in California, per Fox News.

As of Wednesday, more than 1,400 firefighters were beating back the NKP Complex Fire in Sequoia National Park, according to the Associated Press. And 1,300 firefighters were working to contain the Windy Fire in Sequoia National Forest.

The California wildfires have torched roughly 3,671 square miles so far this year. And fire season is not over yet. In the process, they’ve wrecked more than 3,200 houses and other structures in their path.

Outsider.com