13,000 Are Ordered to Evacuate as Wildfire Spreads in Northern California

The authorities in Northern California ordered about 13,000 people in Butte County to evacuate on Tuesday night as a wildfire spread, burning more than 3,000 acres as of Wednesday morning.

California’s firefighting agency, Cal Fire, said that the fire began on Tuesday morning and that its cause was under investigation. It was not clear how many structures had been damaged by the blaze, called the Thompson fire, but photos showed several homes and vehicles engulfed in flames. No fatalities had been reported as of Wednesday morning.

Sheriff Kory Honea of Butte County said at a news conference on Tuesday night that about 13,000 people had been ordered to evacuate. Many of the evacuation orders affected the city of Oroville, Calif., which is about 68 miles north of Sacramento and has a population of about 20,000 people.

The fire risk in Northern California has been made worse this week by low humidity and gusty winds, which can cause fires to rapidly spread. Red flag fire warnings, meaning that the risk for wildfires is heightened by weather conditions, were in place in more than a dozen counties on Tuesday and Wednesday.

There is also a dangerous heat wave in Northern California, with temperatures on Wednesday expected to reach 110 and higher in cities including Sacramento, Chico and Redding. The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning that affects most of Northern California, including Oroville.

Butte County was the site of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. The Camp fire in 2018 killed at least 85 people and destroyed more than 90 percent of the homes in Paradise, a small town about 20 miles north of Oroville.

Last week, residents of the nearby town of Palermo were ordered to evacuate because of the Apache fire, which burned 691 acres and has been contained.

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