The raging Rocky fire in northern California has extended to cover 60,000 acres of land across three counties, and destroyed 50 structures – sacking 24 homes and leading to the emergency evacuation of over 12,000 residents from its path.
With 12% of the destructive fire contained on Monday, it continues to threaten about 6,301 structural constructions in three counties – Yolo, Lake, and Colusa; yet it continues to forge ahead in the face of indefatigable firefighting endeavours.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the fire is rising in an area known for “little to no fire history.” Over 2,900 firefighters were activated to put out the demonized flames, but the steep and rugged terrains of the area have made their efforts less effective.
Cal Fire says erratic winds and dry woodlands is giving impetus to the fire in a drought-plagued Northern California, where 26 outbuildings and 24 residential homes have already been burnt.
“There are pretty widespread evacuations,” said Brad Alexander, chief spokesman for the governor’s emergency services office. “The big issue is this is an area that hasn’t had burning in several decades.
“They’ve got chaparral that is over 6 feet tall,” Alexander said. “When you have vegetation that big and dense in an area like that it is going to cause flames to race up and down canyon walls and hillsides. It can move as fast as the wind can carry it,” meaning faster than a man can run, he clarified. “So when you have perfect conditions for an explosive fire, it is critical folks are listening.”
The fire claimed the life of 38-year-old David Ruhl on Thursday in Modoc County, south of the Oregon border. Ruhl was a US Forest Service firefighter from South Dakota and got trapped while driving and scouting for ways to curtail the fire. Erratic winds whipped the blaze and Ruhl could not survive the ordeal.
A married father of two “left his home state to help protect one of California’s majestic forests,” said Gov. Jerry Brown. “We extend our deepest condolences to his family.”
Lightning strikes and dry weather are thought to have created the fire outbreak, and the authorities continue to do all they can to put it out and save lives and properties.