Wildfire Rips Through Homes

About 100 structures are lost to California blaze that sent residents fleeing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 3, 2022 2:50 PM CDT
California Fire Levels Homes
The sun rises over Mt. Shasta and homes destroyed by the Mill Fire on Saturday in Weed, Calif.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

A wind-swept wildfire in rural Northern California tore through a neighborhood and destroyed about 100 homes and other buildings, fire officials said Saturday after at least two people were injured and thousands were forced to evacuate. The Mill Fire started shortly before 1pm Friday just north of Weed, a city of about 2,600 people 250 miles north of San Francisco. The flames raced into the Lincoln Heights neighborhood, where a significant number of homes burned and residents had to flee for their lives. Two people were brought to Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta for treatment, the AP reports.

Unit Chief Phil Anzo of Cal Fire said crews worked all day and night to protect structures in Weed and in a subdivision to the east. "There’s a lot at stake on that Mill Fire," he said. "There’s a lot of communities, a lot of homes there." Weather conditions improved overnight and firefighters were able to get 20% containment, but another blaze, the Mountain Fire, that broke out Friday northwest of Weed, grew substantially. No injuries or buildings had been reported lost in that fire. The causes for both fires were under investigation. Anzo estimated about 100 homes and other buildings were lost in the Mill Fire. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County and said a federal grant had been received to help provide resources.

Naomi Vogelsang, 46, may have lost her 10-year-old English bulldog, Bella, to the Mill Fire. Vogelsang said she was napping on a couch when a friend told her to leave immediately. "Everything was black," she said Saturday. "Things were exploding, you couldn't see in front of your face." A firefighter picked her up and put her on a truck to get to safety, but her dog would not follow. All the houses around her were burned. Vogelsang said she slept on a bench in Weed on Friday night because she could not get a ride to the evacuation center. On Saturday morning, she was planning to go to a casino with the $20 she had left. Her luck couldn’t get much worse, she said. "My dog was my everything," she said. "I just feel like I lost everything that mattered."

(Read more California wildfires stories.)

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