August 17, 2022

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Four people have already died in California’s worst wildfires of the year

The so-called “McKinney” fire has been raging in Northern California since Friday, July 29, and has already sown death in its path.

“We have four confirmed deaths and this number may change”Tuesday, August 2, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office in Siskiyou County told Agence France-Presse (AFP), where a state of emergency has been declared.

McKinney, the largest fire of the year in this western US state, covers 22,700 hectares, and especially threatens the small town of Yreka. It, on Tuesday, spiraled out of control.

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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 town on the Klamath River near the Oregon state border. “Our goal today is to communicate effectively with people and we ask them to obey evacuation orders.”A spokesperson insisted. “Protecting human lives and property is our priority. »

A brief silence

“When we left, everything was burning.”Reported to Los Angeles Times Sherry Marchetti-Perrault, a resident. “It happened so fast. We left with only the clothes on our backs. We couldn’t breathe or see anything. »

Since Sunday evening, firefighters have taken advantage of a brief lull provided by better weather with low temperatures and scattered showers. But optimism remains relative, with the weather service’s alert active due to the threat of lightning expected to accompany new thunderstorms.

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“Vegetation in the area is very dry and the continued threat of thunderstorms and associated strong and unpredictable winds could reignite the fire.”The California Fire Department has warned.

Continuous drought

Bulldozers were positioned to protect the town of Yreka and nearby buildings for its 8,000 residents. Despite the danger, some residents chose to wait until the last moment before evacuating.

“I’m patient and try not to leave early because I’m helping my unwell mother around.”A resident who received a mandatory evacuation order told AFP Rafael Franco. “At the last minute, if I see that we’re crossing the ridge we’re on, we’ll just grab what we can and push forward hoping everything will work out.”He adds.

Marjie Lawrence, who rushed out of the Klamath River overnight Friday into Saturday, said she later returned to her home to collect personal belongings. “When the house burned down, we took the things we wanted, but not enough”she explained.

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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.

The world with AFP