Since starting Friday, the Mountain and Mill fires in Siskiyou County have collectively burned over 13,000 acres... with little containment reported for each fire.
This wildfire season has been somewhat mild, thus far, and isn't on track to surpass the record-breaking seasons seen in years prior. As of publishing CAL FIRE has recorded a total of 5,828 incidents (read: fires) that have burned an estimated 202,684 acres across the state. The 2022 season follows the 2020 and 2021 CA wildfire seasons — which had the highest and second-highest numbers of acres burned in the state's recorded history; 2020 saw a dizzying 4,397,809 acres burn across the state, while an estimated 2,568,948 acres went up in flames last year.
Are you hot and tired of this extreme heat? So are our firefighters... #OneLessSpark means one less wildfire. Do your part in not starting the next large #California #Wildfire. #MillFire pic.twitter.com/ToPOTib8k3— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) September 4, 2022
Nonetheless, many of this year's season wildfires have grown at quick paces, seemingly overnight in some cases, and have taken weeks to fully contain. The Mountain Fire — the largest wildfire to fall under CAL FIRE's management since late July — and Mill Fire have both exploded in growth since each started on September 2.
#MountainFire off Gazelle-Callahan Road, east of Gazelle Mountain, southeast of Gazelle, in Siskiyou County is 8,460 acres and 10% contained. @CALFIRESKUhttps://t.co/xct7QD2TJg pic.twitter.com/A7ZOnxQcan— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) September 4, 2022
In less than two days, the Mountain Fire has engulfed at least 8,460 acres, and the Mill Fire has swallowed around 4,254 acres; containment for the Mill Fire sits at around 25%, while just 10% of the Mountain Fire has been controlled.
According to the New York Times, the currently in-place evacuation orders for Siskiyou County have forced thousands of people to evacuate the rural NorCal area. Two fatalities have been reported from the blaze, at least three people were injured as they fled the wildfire-stricken area.
The newspaper noted that CAL FIRE officials said the number of structures destroyed is expected to rise after teams inspected the damage. And a recent update revealed that more than 130 structures had been affected to some degree by the two fires.
Weed, a city in Siskiyou County, was ravaged by the Boles fire in 2014. Though it was comparatively small — it burned less than 500 acres before the majority of it was contained — it destroyed at least 150 homes and eight commercial buildings in the small community of less than 3,000. Weed sits 30 miles southeast of where the McKinney fire burned this summer, which grew to become CA's largest blaze in 2022 and killed at least four people.
Per ABC News, Cal FIRE Chief Director Chris Anthony reminded reporters during a briefing Saturday that the overwhelming majority of wildfires in California are caused not by natural causes, but rather human activities.
"It's important to understand that 95% of all fires start as a result of human-caused activity," Anthony said after making mention that this weekend's high temperatures and drought conditions are the "perfect ingredients for rapid fire spread" — "it only takes a spark to ignite a major fire."
Photo: Courtesy of Twitter via @CAL_FIRE