Northern California Wildfires Kill 3, Force Evacuation of Thousands

Three people died in a northern California wildfire raging in the Shasta County foothills of the Cascade range, officials said on Monday, as a separate blaze devastated the famed wine-producing region of Napa and Sonoma counties.

The three fatalities in the so-called Zogg Fire in Shasta County, which erupted on Sunday near the town of Redding, were reported by the county sheriff and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire).

No further details about the victims or the precise circumstances of their deaths were immediately provided. But the deaths bring to 29 the number of people killed since mid-August in a California wildfire season of historic proportions.

The Zogg fire, which has charred about 15,000 acres of rolling grassy hillsides and oak woodlands thick with dry scrub, coincided with the outbreak of another conflagration, about 200 miles to the south, in the heart of northern California’s wine country.

That blaze, dubbed the Glass Fire, has spread across at least 11,000 acres of similar terrain in Napa and Sonoma counties since early Sunday, burning homes, forcing thousands of residents to flee and threatening world-renowned vineyards.

Both fires were listed at zero containment as of Monday evening. The cause of each was under investigation.

They marked the latest flashpoints in a historically destructive spate of wildfires this summer across the Western United States.

In California this year, wildfires have scorched 3.7 million acres (1.5 million hectares) since January – far exceeding any single year in state history. They have been stoked by intense, prolonged bouts of heat, high winds and other weather extremes that scientists attribute to climate change.

More than 7,000 homes and other structures have burned in California so far this year.

© 2020 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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