14,000-acre California wildfire forces residents to evacuate


A growing grass fire that started Saturday afternoon in San Joaquin County, California, has consumed 14,000 acres, forcing residents in its path to evacuate the area, according to authorities.

The Corral Fire started in the town of Tracy around 2:30 p.m., according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. As of Sunday afternoon, the flames were 30% contained, the department reported on X. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, according to the department.

Area officials recently warned that gusty winds, warmer temperatures and dried grass could create dangerous, fire-prone conditions.

“Areas west of the California Aqueduct, south of Corral Hollow Creek, west of Alameda County and south of Stanislaus County should leave now,” the county said Saturday.

Earlier Saturday evening, San Joaquin County officials ordered Tracy residents closest to the Corral Fire to flee and told others nearby that they “should be ready to leave.” A temporary evacuation site has been set up at the Larch Clover Community Center for affected residents.

Kent Porter/The Democratic Press/AP

A resident evacuates his horse as the Corral Fire bears down on ranches west of Tracy, California, June 1, 2024.

Two Alameda County firefighters were injured while responding to the blaze, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Josh Silveira told CNN early Sunday morning. They suffered minor to moderate injuries and were transported to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment, Silveira said.

“I pray for our neighbors in Tracy and our first responders” Mayor Kevin J. Lincolnfrom the neighboring town of Stockton, said on social media Saturday evening.

A section of I-580 is closed in both directions due to a “major grass fire, smoke and zero visibility,” according to the department. California Department of Transportation.

The fire could spread further with wind gusts expected to persist overnight in the area at speeds up to 40 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento. Sweltering heat during the coming week could increase dangerous fire conditions.

“An excessive heat watch in the valley and adjacent foothills continues Tuesday through Thursday with high temperatures of 95 to 107°F expected in the afternoon,” the release said. weather service said.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection recently suspended all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and western San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

The department said the suspension was due to the increasing fire risk posed by hot and dry conditions in the area. Warming temperatures and winds that generate a high volume of dead grass also contribute. Firefighters have responded to more than 1,200 wildfires across the state so far this year, the department announced Friday.

“As the summer heat intensifies, the commitment and unwavering efforts of the CAL FIRE Santa Clara Unit remain steadfast in protecting California communities from wildfires. By remaining vigilant and following safety and fire prevention guidelines, we can work together to mitigate risks and protect our communities,” said Baraka Carter, Santa Clara Unit Chief.

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