Evacuations were also ordered in Shasta County as the Zogg Fire spread over 23 square miles (59 square kilometers). Residences are widely scattered in the forested area in the far northern state. The region was torched just two years ago by the deadly Carr Fire — infamously remembered for producing a huge tornado-like fire whirl.
The causes of the new fires were under investigation.
Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said 2020 has been challenging.
“The silver lining to it is that people who live in California become more prepared, they’re more aware, they know these events take place and we’re seeing a citizenry that does get it and is working hard to be prepared,” he said.
Numerous studies in recent years have linked bigger wildfires in America to global warming from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Scientists say climate change has made California much drier, meaning trees and other plants are more flammable.
The latest fires erupted as a giant ridge of high pressure settled over the West, producing powerful gusts blowing from the interior toward the coast while slashing humidity levels and raising temperatures.
So far this year, more than 8,100 California wildfires have killed 26 people, scorched 5,780 square miles (14,970 square kilometers), and destroyed more than 7,000 buildings.