Spreading California Wildfires Destroy 100 Homes, Devastates Town /


A wind-whipped wildfire laid siege to a California town at the foot of Mount Shasta — destroying a church, damaging or leveling 100 homes and forcing authorities to order about half the people to leave.

The fire erupted Monday afternoon just south of the town of Weed, and 40 mph gusts of wind blew embers as far as a half-mile away. By Tuesday the wind had died down but the fire had spread to 375 acres and was only 20 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

Residents returned to survey the damage, which burned nearly a quarter of the town of 3,000 and sent people running for their lives. Tami Gonzalez rushed to remove children from a school as flames bore down on the town. “Horrendous, absolutely just devastating,” she said Tuesday.

Weed, about 50 miles from the Oregon state line, has about 3,000 people. Allison Giannini, a sheriff’s spokeswoman, said that at least 1,500 had been ordered to evacuate.

“It’s like out of a movie,” said Cory Rodriguez, who was baptized at the destroyed church, tearing up as she surveyed the charred wreckage. “Especially the church where I used to come like every Sunday.” A lumber mill that employs many people in town also caught fire.

The wildfire is one of seven burning across California. East of Sacramento, in the El Dorado National Forest, one fire CONTINUED to grow Tuesday, swelling from 8,600 acres Monday to 11,570 acres by Tuesday evening, according to Cal Fire. Around 500 homes remain threatened as more than 1,500 firefighters struggled to contain it.

Two fires were 100 percent contained in northern California Tuesday and a third, the 247-acre Dog Bar Fire in Nevada County, was nearly completely contained, Cal Fire said. Hot weather and record drought have exacerbated fires in the state. The tail end of Hurricane Odile, which tore through the Baja California peninsula of Mexico on Monday, is expected to hinder firefighters by bringing wind north from Mexico.


The rapidly expanding King fire is threatening more than 1,600 homes in Northern California


Wildfires CONTINUE to besiege drought-dried Northern California, where firefighters battled the worst conflagration — the rapidly expanding King fire — into the morning as the blaze threatened to jump U.S. Route 50 and burn into a community on the other side of the highway.

The King fire, in a forested area east of Sacramento, spread rapidly overnight as it threatened 1,632 homes. The fire was 12,780 acres on Tuesday night, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. But by Wednesday morning, Cal Fire reported that the blaze had grown to 18,544 acres and was 5 percent contained.

By comparison, the King fire had been “holding steady” at 3,900 acres on Monday afternoon, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The fire was so large that it was clearly visible from space, according to Reid Wiseman, a U.S. astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

The fire’s explosive growth and rapid movement “prompted specially trained federal firefighters to take command of the fire early Tuesday morning,” USA Today reported, adding:

By nightfall, groups of firefighters were setting off small burns to try to SLOW the spread, anxious to prevent one flank of the fire from crossing south of Highway 50 from the canyon along the south fork of the American River to the small community that lives in the scenic, heavily wooded area. The fire had reached the edge of Highway 50 late Tuesday. Giant explosions of fire sent massive clouds of smoke and sparks high into the air above the road, a breathtaking sight that carried the threat of setting evergreens on either side of the road ablaze.

Psalm 83:
13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;