Vast Northern California wildfire keeps surging

The lightning-sparked fire near the Oregon border had forced the evacuation of people in as many as 250 scattered rural homes and other buildings by late Thursday.

HAPPY CAMP, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire near the small Northern California logging and gold mining town of Happy Camp in the Klamath National Forest has grown to 50 square miles, pushed by westerly winds that sent embers ahead of the main blaze.

The lightning-sparked fire near the Oregon border had forced the evacuation of people in as many as 250 scattered rural homes and other buildings by late Thursday.

It was 20 percent contained since starting two weeks ago.

Fire spokesman Ken Sandusky said fears that the fire could quickly cover the 10 miles separating it from Scott River Valley prompted the mandatory evacuations ordered Wednesday night by the Siskiyou County sheriff.

An evacuation center has been set up in Yreka, but no one was using it, Sandusky said.

Persistent air inversions trapping smoke in the valley have kept air tankers from dropping retardant in recent days. The fire has taken off at night when the inversion lifts, forcing firefighters to fall back.

Dry weather with steady winds from the west are expected to keep the fire growing through the week, Sandusky said.



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