Calif. Gov. Declares Wildfire Emergency
FELTON, Calif. (AP) Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in
More than 6,400 acres have burned in the Humboldt Fire, which has crossed the Skyway and is now threatening 250 structures.
Fire officials say the fire is 10-percent contained. No cause for the fire has been determined.
Firefighters struggled to gain control of a series of wind-driven wildfires burning across
The fast-moving blaze about 10 miles northwest of Santa Cruz grew to 900 acres - or about 1 1/2 square miles - Wednesday night after it broke around 3 p.m. Mandatory evacuations were ordered for 500 residents in the heavily forested hills. Voluntary evacuations were in place for another 1,000 residents.
The fire threatened hundreds of homes and could spread, Battalion Chief Paul Van Gerwen said. About 650 firefighters were expected to be in place by Thursday morning.
Jeanne Colbus, 60, said she and her 94-year-old mother quickly left their home after she saw smoke in the hills and received a call ordering them to evacuate.
"I was gardening and I looked up and saw that big column of smoke," said Colbus, who planned to spend the night at an emergency shelter at a middle school in Felton, several miles from the blaze. "I'm scared. We don't have fire insurance for one thing. A lot of our things are irreplaceable."
"We've had very active winds, low humidity and high heat. As you know, that's a recipe for disaster," said Joshpae White, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Those weather conditions also prevailed throughout the rest of
For a second day, erratic wind gusts surprised firefighters who were overrun by flames.
Three firefighters were burned near
The extreme fire danger was expected to last through Thursday, with temperatures hitting 100 degrees throughout the
In Colorado, a federal fire management team was expected to arrive Thursday to coordinate more than 50 firefighters battling a lightning-sparked blaze at a remote U.S. Army training site about 160 miles south of Denver. The fire had burned about 20,000 acres, or about 31 square miles, inside
Across the country in
About 50 homes were ordered evacuated because of the 62-square-mile wildfire, officials said. The fire, sparked June 1 by a lightning strike, is about 40 percent contained, officials said.
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