Two people were found dead in a burned-out vehicle by firefighters battling California’s largest wildfire, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.
The identities of those found in a driveway on the way to the McKinney fire have not been released, pending notification of next of kin, the sheriff’s office said.
The McKinney Fire, which began burning Friday afternoon in the Klamath National Forest not far from the California-Oregon border, grew rapidly and as of Monday morning was nearly of 55,500 acres.
Some structures were destroyed, but fire officials were unable to complete assessments and the number of people lost is unknown, according to the US Forest Service. More than 4,000 structures are threatened.
There are two main fires burning in the area – the McKinney Fire and the nearly 2,000-acre China 2 Fire to the west. That small fire was caused by lightning, but the cause of the McKinney fire is not known, officials said. Both started on Friday.
The fires have forced the evacuation of nearly 2,000 people, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said Saturday. Newsom has declared an emergency for Siskiyou County. The statement authorizes certain federal aid and state resources.
The McKinney Fire is the largest wildfire in the state, surpassing the Oak Fire in Mariposa County, which spanned 19,244 acres and was 72 percent contained.
At least 124 homes were destroyed by the Oak Fire, which began July 22, officials said.