California Fights Worst Wildfire of the Year, With More Than 51,000 Acres Scorched

by Lauren Boisvert

The McKinney fire is tearing through Northern California, burning up over 51,000 acres of land near the Klamath National Forest. The fire began on July 29. It is zero percent contained by Sunday, July 31. The origin of the wildfire is still under investigation, and the cause is currently unknown.

Siskiyou County is under a state of emergency. Close to 2,000 residents evacuated the area since Saturday. Hopefully, the state of emergency will allow firefighters from neighboring states to assist in containment measures.

The McKinney fire is likely to worsen due to intense weather. The National Weather Service is calling for “abundant lightning” on Monday. There will also be thunderstorms that could “contribute to the fire spread.” But, they could also possibly work to contain some of the blaze, said the weather service.

Firefighters, who were previously engaging in an “offensive perimeter control effort,” switched to a more defensive evacuation of the surrounding areas on Saturday. Currently, there are two more fires in Siskiyou County. The China 2 and Evans fires have merged and burned a total of 300 acres together.

Oregon Residents Tie Man To Tree After He Causes a Wildfire

A man in Oregon discarded his lit cigarette in the woods as he walked along a gravel road, causing a wildfire to break out. Residents of Curry County who saw the incident decided to take matters into their own hands. They subdued 30-year-old Trennon Smith, tying him to a tree before authorities arrived.

“It was reported that the suspect became very combative with the three residents and had to be tied to a tree to subdue him,” said Curry County Justice in a statement. The residents detained Smith until the police and officers from the Bureau of Land Management arrived on the scene.

Police charged Smith with two counts of first-degree arson and one count of reckless burning. He also had a warrant out for his arrest regarding a parole violation.

“The Curry County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all agencies who responded to assist in the fire control and detaining Trennon Smith for starting the fires,” read an official statement after the incident. “The cooperation and partnership between all agencies when something like this occurs is remarkable.”

Fires Continue To Rage Across the United States

According to the National Interagency Fire Center out of Boise, Idaho, as of Sunday, July 31 five states have reported new wildfires: California, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas. There are 54 active fires across the nation, which have burned a total of 1,547,207 acres currently. Overall, over 5 million acres have burned in the US this year. This is second only to the fire season of 2015, which burned 5.6 million acres. In California, the McKinney fire remains the worst fire this year.