Over 4,000 firefighters are battling 14 large fires around the state, and 45 new fires erupted on Sunday alone, said Anale Burlew, a deputy chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Two people died in a rapidly-spreading wildfire in Southern California on Monday, Cal Fire officials said, and two others were killed in a Northern California blaze that has ripped through a small town.
The fire broke out Monday in an unincorporated area near Hemet, about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles. In less than an hour, it had exploded to 500 acres, according to Cal Fire.
"Those individuals were attempting to flee the area and were overcome by the fire," he said Tuesday morning. It's unknown whether the victims are related or from the same household. The fire has been moving in an "atypical wind direction," Janssen said. "This fire burned differently than it normally would on a given day," he said. "It burned the complete opposite direction of what it should do."
An evacuation order that was initially issued for 1,584 homes was expanded Monday evening. Seven structures have been destroyed, with several others damaged.
The city of Hemet is also experiencing an "unrelated weather-caused power outage," Reichardt said Tuesday. Triple-digit temperatures across California are straining the electrical grid and making rotating outages increasingly likely, authorities said.
“There’s no easy way of putting it,” LaRue said. The bodies of the two women, 66 and 73, were found Friday, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office announced Monday. The Mill Fire, just south of the Oregon border, measured overre miles and 6 squawas 55% contained as of Tuesday morning, according to Cal Fire.
The fire had grown to 450 acres with 0% containment, officials said.