Klamathon Fire ignites in Hornbrook, prompting I-5 closure

An air tanker drops retardant on the so-called Benton Fire near the intersection of Benton Road and Crams Corner Drive in this image on social media in Anza California

Klamathon Fire ignites in Hornbrook, prompting I-5 closure

CAL FIRE reported at 6 a.m. MDT Friday that the Klamathon Fire along Interstate 5 just south of the OR border is now 8,000 acres with "multiple structures threatened and damaged OR destroyed".

"Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an emergency proclamation for Siskiyou County due to the effects of the Klamathon Fire, which has destroyed structures, threatened homes and critical infrastructure and caused the evacuation of residents", the declaration said.

At least 2,200 people were evacuated in the Goleta area, officials said.

Fire personnel spent the night and morning in pitched battle against the Holiday fire, which exploded Friday night amid 100-degree temperatures and risky "sundowner" winds that made the blaze impossible to control. A map from the department shows they span from the OR border south to San Diego County; from the west, in Santa Barbara County, to the east, on the border with Nevada.

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In San Bernardino National Forest, about an hour east of Los Angeles, a fire grew to 1,000 acres and prompted the evacuation of a town of 700 homes, while 1,000 households were ordered to evacuate in San Diego County after a handful of fires erupted there. "We know we've lost homes and lots of structures, including livestock and horses as well".

"We're actually pretty hopeful everyone got out", Lieutenant LaRue said.

Meanwhile, to the northeast in Lake County, firefighters maintained 92 percent containment on the 15,000-acre Pawnee Fire.

A Utah fire that burned 90 structures and forced the evacuation of more than 1,100 people in a mountain area near a popular fishing reservoir was growing on Friday, but fire officials hoped to control it soon. An animal shelter was also set up at the Siskiyou County Fairgrounds.

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"It's going to be a long fire season", Lee Beyer with the U.S. Forest Service says, noting the dry winter and near-drought conditions in much of the western U.S.

Map showing the approximate location of the Klamathon Fire at 11:41 p.m. PDT July 5, 2018.

Elsewhere in California, a massive blaze northwest of Sacramento had destroyed nine homes, officials said.

In contrast, rain helped slow the growth of wildfires in Colorado that have burned dozens of homes. They said it was just smoldering, and rain over the coming days should keep it from spreading. The Spring Creek Fire became the third-largest in state history at 165 square miles (427 square kilometers).

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