California wildfires destroy thousands of homes, leaving 23,000 people displaced

An elderly woman with disabilities has reportedly died

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 16 September 2015 08:12
Comments
Firefighters with the Marin County Fire Department's Tamalpais Fire Crew monitor a backfire as they battle the Valley Fire on September 13, 2015 near Middletown, California.
Firefighters with the Marin County Fire Department's Tamalpais Fire Crew monitor a backfire as they battle the Valley Fire on September 13, 2015 near Middletown, California.

California’s Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency as raging wildfires sweep across the state destroying hundreds of homes and forcing thousands of residents to flee.

More than 1,000 firefighters have fought the Valley Fire, which had grown to 50,000 acres (78 square-miles) by Sunday, displacing 23,000 people.

One person, reported to be an elderly woman with disabilities, has died.

Emergency dispatchers received a call requesting assistance for a woman in Hot Springs Road, Cobb Mountain, but on arrival, emergency crews found the building entirely engulfed in flames, according to the LA Times. Her remains were reportedly found after the fire had subsided.

"The resident was apparently unable to self-evacuate and responders were unable to make it to her home before the fire engulfed the structure," Lt Steve Brooks of the Lake County Sheriff’s office said in a statement on the paper's website.

Governor Brown’s announcement will help expedite debris removal and waive fees to replace essential documents like birth certificates for those who have been forced to abandon their homes.

A firefighter looks on while a house is engulfed in flames during the Valley fire in Seigler Springs, California on September 13, 2015.

Daniel Berlant, California Fire Department’s Chief of Public Information said wind gusts that reached up to 30mph sent embers raining down on homes, making it hard for firefighters to stop the Lake County blaze, The Guardian reports.

Four fire fighters were injured on Saturday. They were all members of a helicopter crew and suffered second-degree burns.

The fire is reported to have erupted on Saturday afternoon about 50 miles west of Sacramento, the state capital. It rapidly burned through brush and trees parched from several years of drought.

Thousands fled over the weekend as mandatory evacuations were ordered for the communities of Cobb, Middletown, Harbin Hot Springs and Big Canyon Road.

A firefighter with the Marin County Fire Department's Tamalpais Fire Crew ignite a backfire with a driptorch as he battles the Valley Fire on September 13, 2015 near Middletown, California.
A dead horse lays on the side of a road while firefighters continue to battle the Valley fire in Middletown, California on September 13, 2015.

California firefighters are also battling the Butte Fire in Amador and Calaveras counties, which are about 70 miles east of Sacramento. The fire has grown to 65,000 acres (101 square-miles), Cal Fire reported.

It threatens around 6,150 homes.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in