YREKA, Calif. (AP) — Crews battling the largest wildfire so far this year in California braced for thunderstorms and hot, windy conditions that created the potential for more fire growth as they sought to protect remote communities.
The McKinney Fire was burning out of control in Northern California’s Klamath National Forest, with thunderstorms a major concern on Sunday.
The blaze had grown to more than 80 square miles just two days after erupting in a largely unpopulated area near the Oregon line.
In northwest Montana, a blaze sparked in grasslands near the community of Elmo grew to more than 17 square miles after advancing into forest.
Crews also are fighting a fire in Idaho.
The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has mobilized three structural task forces at the request of California to the McKinney Fire.
The task forces are from Marion, Linn, & Clackamas County.
The OSFM received the request for resources from California through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). These three taskforces are made up of 41 firefighters, 12 engines, and three water tenders. The task forces left for California Sunday morning and should be arriving late Sunday afternoon.
Currently, the OSFM has no activations or mobilizations of the Oregon fire service in Oregon. Oregon uses the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System (OFMAS) to respond to local, regional, and statewide fires. With weather and fire activity OSFM feels comfortable that the OFMAS has the capacity, should resources be needed.
“Our office has a long-standing mutual aid relationship with Cal OES, and we are more than willing to lend a helping hand,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “Last summer, California sent resources to help on the Bootleg Fire in our time of need. The partnership between our two states has the same end goal, protecting communities and saving lives.”
The task forces will be in California for up to two weeks.