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McKinney Fire in N. Calif. leaves two dead

Randy Mancini 4 Aug 1
Flames from the McKinney Fire burn beyond firefighters in Klamath National Forest, Calif., on Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Flames from the McKinney Fire burn beyond firefighters in Klamath National Forest, Calif., on Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Two people are dead and thousands more evacuated as firefighters battle California’s largest fire this season. Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) declared a state of emergency Saturday, as the McKinney Fire burning near the California-Oregon border continued to rage out of control. More than 55,000 acres have been charred since the flames broke out Friday. Crews found the bodies of two people in a burned-out vehicle Sunday morning.

McKinney Fire: Over 55k acres the fire saw decreased activity yesterday. There is a slight chance of rain on the fire today. This 🎥 shows the fire cresting the ridge line in the evening. 2 resident fatalities have been confirmed by the sheriffs office #mckinneyfire #California pic.twitter.com/XPh6IIdkAi

— TheHotshotWakeUp: Podcast (@HotshotWake) August 1, 2022

“In 22+ yrs of fire I’ve never experienced anything like this fire behavior at night,” tweeted Rep. Dacia Greyber (D-Ore.) “It felt absolutely surreal and not just a little apocalyptic.”

We were underneath this. In 22+ yrs of fire I’ve never experienced anything like this fire behavior at night. It felt absolutely surreal and not just a little apocalyptic. https://t.co/oM6lfgQAVg

— Dacia Grayber (@djgrayber) July 30, 2022

As the weekend ended, the blaze was 0 percent contained and firefighters face a long battle ahead as lightning and thunderstorms complicated efforts while the flames raced through dry vegetation. Heavy smoke over the fire helped slow its growth Sunday but also kept firefighting aircraft grounded, the US Forest Service said in a Sunday night update.

Woke up while backcountry camping to 50+hot wind gusts, lightning, blowing ash, and this view through the trees (not a sunset!) on a high saddle approx 8mi SW of Mt. Ashland. Terrifying. Turns out it’s the #McKinneyFire pic.twitter.com/no55IAIL02

— Dacia Grayber (@djgrayber) July 30, 2022

“These conditions can be extremely dangerous for firefighters as winds can be erratic and extremely strong causing fire to spread in any direction,” forest service officials said in a news release.

According to CNN meteorologist Haley Brink, more than 2 million people are under red flag warnings Monday in parts of northern California, central Oregon, eastern Washington, Montana, eastern Wyoming, western South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska.

More than 650 firefighters are on the scene and battling the blaze as well as mother nature.

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