A large California wildfire has spread over 54,000 acres in a 24-hour period and threatens more than 5,000 structures.
The Caldor wildfire started in El Dorado County on Aug. 14 and experienced “unprecedented fire behavior,'' spreading rapidly due to the wind and extremely dry conditions, according to officials in the state.
An update on the uncontrolled blaze Wednesday reported the fire involved 53,772 acres since it began Aug. 14 south of the Grizzly Flats community.
According to the state, communities around the fast-moving fire were evacuated Tuesday, filling one of three evacuation centers at the Diamond Springs Fire Hall.
Governor's Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci said in a press briefing Wednesday that the Caldor fire was just one of several the state is battling as fire season begins, already straining resources.
“We've had a lot of structural loss, but I'm happy to report, so far, no deaths,'' Ghilarducci said. “The state is going to use every available resource to protect life and property.''
He said that climate and weather changes have made the recent fires “more dangerous'' than anything experienced in the past due to much drier fuel and stronger winds.
He said that Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared 11 counties disaster areas and will ask President Joe Biden for a federal disaster declaration to allow the state to get funds from agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Ghilarducci said that an estimated 31,000 people throughout the state have been evacuated as the fires are being fought, and around 500 were currently in shelters.
He also said that more than 10,000 firefighters, 700 engines, 200 hand crew, and others are participating in battling these fires, as well as seeking help from other states.
“There are major fires in the 12 Western states, so resources are really running thin throughout the western United States,'' he said.
According to the state, some 1.3 million acres have already burned this year, ahead of the more than 860,000 claimed in 2020.
“The Caldor fire is in a very difficult spot,'' said Chief Thom Porter, director of the California Department of Forestry and Forest Protection, said in the briefing. “Getting people out of the way from these fires is the best way we can protect the community.''
While Caldor is a large fire, the second largest in the state, the Dixie fire being fought is the largest in California history, and the 14th most destructive, Porter said.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.