McKinney Fire: At least 2 dead in massive wildfire on California-Oregon border, officials say

SISKIYOU COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) — The McKinney Explosive Fire that ignited Friday in Siskiyou County, near the California-Oregon border, claimed the lives of two people, officials said Monday morning.

It is currently the largest wildfire to burn in the state this year, burning over 52,000 acres and it is currently 0% contained.

Officials say more than 100 buildings have already been destroyed.

McKinney’s explosive growth has forced crews to shift from trying to control the fire’s perimeter to trying to protect homes and critical infrastructure like water tanks and power lines, and assisting with evacuations in Siskiyou County, the northernmost in California.

RELATED: McKinney Fire: SF Hiker Talks Being Stuck On Mountain Trail As Massive Wildfire Breaks Out

Highway 96 also remains closed to area drivers as crews work to bring the blaze under control.

Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes with unpredictable winds, making it a challenge for firefighters.

Several hikers had to be rescued from the famous Pacific Crest Trail.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Saturday as the fire escalated. The proclamation gives Newsom more flexibility to make emergency response and recovery effort decisions and access federal assistance.

It also allows “firefighting resources from other states to assist California crews with firefighting,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.

A heavy accumulation of vegetation was fueling the McKinney Fire, said Tom Stokesberry, U.S. Forest Service spokesman for the region.

“It’s a very dangerous fire – the geography there is steep and rugged, and that particular area hasn’t burned in a while,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Kathryn Dybdahl is a hiker from San Francisco who sent in photos from Mount Etna, California. She says she’s stuck with a group of about 100 hikers trying to get to Oregon. For more information on whether you can help her or others, visit here.

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