New Wildfire Prompts Evacuations in California As More Hot, Dry Weather Moves In

Published in 15 October, 2020

At a Glance

  • The Bruder Fire was burning in San Bernardino County.

  • It’s the latest blaze in California’s record fire year.

  • Colorado’s Cameron Peak fire is the largest in state history.

A newly sparked wildfire in California forced the evacuation of dozens of people Wednesday night, as the state faces another round of dangerous fire weather.

The Bruder Fire is burning south of Redlands in San Bernardino County, according to CalFire. The blaze had burned about 100 acres and was 30% contained as of Thursday morning.

About 50 homes were under a mandatory evacuation order, KCAL-TV reported.

Video posted to social media showed flames and smoke on a hillside.

The wildfire is the latest in what has become California’s largest fire season ever recorded, with more than 6,400 square miles of land burned, bigger than the entire state of Connecticut. Flames have destroyed some 9,200 homes and other buildings and left at least 31 people dead.

Hot, dry and sometimes windy conditions are fueling the fires. Red flag warnings are in effect across much of Northern California, as well as in parts of Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado, where conditions could be favorable for fire growth.

Critical fire weather conditions were expected in Southern California on Thursday and Friday.

The potential for fires will remain above normal in much of California throughout October and into November, according to the National Weather Service’s monthly wildland fire outlook.

The conditions prompted Pacific Gas & Electric to shut off electricity starting Wednesday night to about 53,000 customers across 24 counties as a preventive measure to keep power lines and other infrastructure from sparking fires. The utility said the outages could last through Friday morning.

Residents across the state were asked to reduce their power usage from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to help limit the strain on the state’s power grid.

Many of the larger deadly and destructive fires that have been burning in California since mid-August were largely under control as of Thursday morning.

The Zogg Fire, which killed four people and burned more than 88 square miles in Shasta County, was 100% contained.

The Glass Fire, which tore through more than 100 square miles including famed wine country in Napa and Sonoma counties, was 97% contained. The blaze destroyed more than 1,500 structures and damaged 282.

The North Complex fire in Plumas and Butte County was 94% contained after burning nearly 500 square miles. The wildfire killed at least 15 people, tied for the fifth deadliest wildfire on record in California.

The August Complex, the largest fire in state history with more than 1,600 square miles burned, was 76% contained.

While the overall situation was good news, fire officials warned this week’s weather could set the stage for more new blazes and setbacks in fighting existing ones.

“If a new fire breaks out, that fire will be able to grow very quickly under these conditions,” Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director with CalFire, told The Associated Press.

California isn’t the only state with record-breaking fires this year. The Cameron Peak Fire burning near Fort Collins, Colorado, became that state’s largest fire in history on Wednesday, according to the Coloradoan, burning more than 250 square miles. The blaze was 56% contained as of Thursday morning. Several areas near the fire remained under mandatory evacuation orders.

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