The McKinney Fire wildfire in the state of California, started on a major highway, but now it’s killing people as it rages on.
Trees along Highway 96 caught fire, but the cause is still under investigation according to the Associated Press.
Thunderstorms were a major concern on Sunday evening because the lightning could cause additional fires and the winds could blow already spreading fire.
By Sunday, the flames had already spread to more than 80 square miles.
While the McKinney Fire remains 0% contained, two other fires have begun close by, prompting evacuations.
A state of emergency was declared by California Governor Newsom on Saturday as the McKinney wildfire grew quickly.
McKinney Fire kills two people in a car near Klamath River and destroys the town
At least two people have been reported dead due to the McKinney Fire tearing through California.
According to the Associated Press, the bodies were found inside of a burned car.
The car was found on Sunday in a driveway of a home near Klamath River.
Names have not yet been released.
The fire originally started off of Highway 96 in the Klamath National Forest, and now the small community of Klamath River is being destroyed.
By Monday morning, 55,493 acres were burned and it’s still going, according to the SF Gate.
The fire reached 1% containment on Saturday but has since gone bac to 0%.
The two individuals found deceased in a car were located on Doggett Creek Road off of Highway 96 near Klamath River.
Over the weekend the fire went from one side of the Klamath River to the other.
This destroyed many buildings which included the Klamath River Community Hall and Oaks Mill trailer park.
One resident shared with KRCR News that only a handful of homes remain in the now destroyed small town.
As the fire started to head toward Walker Creek, a residential area, crews were able to work into the night and protect homes.
The Forest Service stated on Monday that the southern and eastern sides of the fire showed little growth.
2,000 residents remain under evacuation orders, and with the state of emergency, there is now axxess to federal aid and resources for these residents.
While the thunderstorms help in some ways with rain, they also come with issues like wind and lightning that could spread the fire.
More thunderstorms are expected Wednesday.
Advisory issued for those with missing persons pertaining to the McKinney Fire
The Siskiyou County Office of Emergency Services has advised those evacuated from the McKinney Fire and nearby China 2 Fire on what to do about missing persons, according to KDRV News.
Evacuations can often displace people that do not have lines of communication anymore.
This means if you know someone who evacuated, they may be unreachable due to the fire and you could be wondering if they made it out.
You should first try all phone numbers, emails, social media, and try contacting family or friends of the missing person.
If you still cannot locate them, contact the American Red Cross for someone that could be in an evacuation shelter.
You can do this by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS, which is 1-800-733-2767.
If you have exhausted all options including shelters and still can’t find the person, you can call 530-842-8741.
This is the Siskiyou County Emergency Operations Center’s Unaccounted Persons line.
It will be staffed daily from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
If you’re going to report a missing person, please have their name, date of birth, address, and their last known whereabouts.
Do not call 911 and tie up the lines.
60 hikers rescued from the wildfire, along with one Oregon lawmaker narrowly escaping while camping
Sixty hikers were hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this weekend when the McKinney Fire continued to spread in the Klamath National Forest.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the hikers were rescued from the Red Buttes Wilderness trail on the California side.
The evacuation was handled by both the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s search and rescue team and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon.
The Jackson County public information officer Aaron Lewis told the Los Angeles Times, “We went to the trailheads near roads and started gathering hikers.”
“They weren’t necessarily in immediate danger.”
The hikers were taken from Road Junction 1055, to Seattle Bar at Applegate Lake. They were finally taken to Medford or Ashland, Oregon.
Jackson County in Oregon is seeing smoke and ash, but sees no direct threat from the fire right now.
110 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail have been closed through Aug. 30 due to the fire.
The closure starts at Etna Summit in California and goes through the Mount Ashland Campground in Southern Oregon.
If you violate the closure you may face $5,000 fines as an individual. There is also a $10,000 fine as an organization, with up to six months in jail for both fines.
The trail’s website is asking those on the trail to evacuate to the nearest town.
Oregon is working with the state of California to help with the blaze, as it heads toward the neighboring state.
Firefighters from Marion, Linn, and Clackamas were sent by the Oregon State Fire Marshall to help battle the wildfire.
According to KPTV News Fox 12, that includes over 40 firefighters and 12 engines.
Representative Dacia Grayber was camping on Friday night near the Siskiyou Ridge when the fire started.
She stated that after going to bed, they were woken up with winds and saw glows through the trees.
As firefighters with experience, they knew this was not a good sign.
Grayber and her husband were firefighters for Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue.
They packed their campsite up and moved to the Mount Ashland Ski Resort. There, they helped the Pacific Crest Trail hikers who also evacuated.
Grayber added that even with their experience, the speed of the fire and its eruption in the night time were both shocking and unusual to see.
The California fire continues to burn toward Oregon.