The McKinney Fire continues to spread across Northern California, burning more than 51,000 acres

The McKinney Fire in Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou County had burned 51,468 acres as of Sunday morning and remained 0% contained, according to Cal Fire.

The wildfire, now the largest in California so far this year, began Friday afternoon in the Klamath National Forest near the California-Oregon border and resulted in the closure of a portion of Highway 96, Cal Fire officials said.

Drought conditions in the region have resulted in extremely dry, absorbent fuels that have contributed to the wildfire’s rapid spread, as well as strong winds and dry light, firefighters said.

Angela Crawford leans on a fence as a wildfire dubbed the McKinney fire burns a hillside above her home in Klamath National Forest, California on Saturday, July 30, 2022. Crawford and her husband stayed on as other residents were evacuated to defend their home from the fire.

Noah Berger/AP


On Sunday, the national weather service issued red-flag warnings for the area due to the threat of dry lightning and strong winds that can cause the fire to spread in all directions and are “extremely dangerous” for firefighters.

As firefighters struggle to contain the blaze, they are also dealing with three other smaller fires in the county — the China 2, Evans Fire and Kelsey Creek fires.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said the McKinney and China 2 fire became active overnight and said their priority on Sunday was life-saving efforts and protecting the property of evacuated residents.

“Crews were actively involved in protecting the structure overnight, particularly in the Klamath River area. Little progress was observed at the edge of the fire closest to Yreka City,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook.

On Sunday, officers from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Search and Rescue and the Rogue Valley Transportation District assisted in the evacuation of at least 63 hikers of the Pacific Crest Trail on the California side of the Red Buttes Wilderness, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said Jackson County was affected by smoke and ash from the fire, but added there was no direct threat to the community as of Sunday afternoon. The sheriff’s office warned residents that conditions could change “any minute.”

On Saturday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County to devote more resources to fighting the blaze. Newsom confirmed that an unknown number of homes had been destroyed by the wildfire and that 2,000 residents in the county were under evacuation orders.

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