A Northern California fire broke out northwest of Yreka in the Klamath National Forest, about 15 miles south of the Oregon border, sending out a massive pyrocumulus cloud. It exploded overnight reaching 18,000 acres by Saturday morning. It extented now over 40,000. “The McKinney Fire has grown significantly as winds from late evening thunderstorms kept the fire active through the night,” the Forest Service said. California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Saturday as the fire intensified. Evacuation orders were issued on western Yreka and a warning for all city residents west of Interstate 5. Officials said thunderstorms and unpredictable winds in the area have made it difficult to determine the trajectory of the fire, which is burning in Klamath National Forest.
The fire was 1% contained by Saturday evening. No information is available on the cause of the fire. Possibly a lightning strike sparked it. Multiple roads were closed due to the blaze including Highway 96, Scott River Road, Highway 96, and Highway 263.Two additional fires in Siskiyou County – the China 2 and Evans fires – are also prompting evacuation warnings. Crews from multiple agencies are battling the flames. Air and ground resources have been deployed and more requested. Jackson County search and rescue teams rescued dozens of Pacific Crest Trail hikers.