Firefighters are bracing for hotter, drier weather on the King Fire east of Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday as the 18,544-acre wildfire continues to pour a massive plume of smoke into the air.
More than 2,500 firefighters are battling the fire, which overnight prompted 2,150 people to evacuate the rugged, canyon-crossed area. Fire managers also have closed U.S. Highway 50 through the area, although they hope to reopen the road and relax some of the evacuation orders later Wednesday.
Although the fire has grown rapidly over the past several days, tearing through heavily wooded terrain, firefighters still have reported no damage to homes or other property. More than 1,600 structures are being threatened by the fire.
The fire, at nearly 29 square miles, is still 5% contained.
“Today the big focus is going to be winds,” said fire meteorologist Jason Clapp during a morning briefing for firefighters before they deployed to the front lines.
At the Crystal View Shell Station, just outside the U.S. 50 closure, anxious residents watched smoke fill the valley below and fretted about their homes. Under California law, residents can be ordered to evacuate but reporters are given virtually unlimited access.
“I’d just as soon not have my house burn down,” said Terry Simms on Tuesday night, who was ordered by sheriff’s deputies to leave his Fresh Pond-area home Tuesday afternoon.
Firefighters battle the King Fire on Sept. 16 near Pollock Pines, Calif.
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SOURCE: USA Today