Power outages ordered as Clover fire rages in Shasta County

Power outages ordered as Clover fire rages in Shasta County

11 September 2013

published by www.latimes.com

USA — Evacuations, road closures and power outages remain in effect in Northern California’s Shasta County, where the wind-whipped Clover fire has been destroying homes and burning through brush since Monday.

Officials requested that the power be turned off to keep firefighters safe, Cal Fire spokesman David Ballard told The Times. The fire, he said, had burned power poles, and downed power lines stretched across roads.

Containment for the fire — which so far has destroyed 30 homes — remained at 40% Wednesday. Firefighters hope to have it completely contained by Sunday, Ballard said.

Pacific Gas & Electric had restored power to all but 210 customers affected by the fire in the rural community of Happy Valley and surrounding areas, the Redding Record Searchlight reported. More than 2,000 homes had been without power.

The size of the fire has been reduced to 7,012 acres, or about 11 square miles, Ballard said. Firefighters initially thought the blaze had consumed 7,400 acres, but as smoke cleared from the area they were able to create a more accurate map of the blaze, he said.

In addition to the homes, the Clover fire has destroyed 50 outbuildings and damaged 30 other structures, officials said, and it now threatens 500 more.

The fire prompted mandatory evacuations in Happy Valley, Igo, Cotton Wood and other areas in Shasta County. Most evacuations are still in effect, and numerous roads remain closed, Ballard said.

The fire was being fought by 39 fire crews as of Wednesday, according to Cal Fire. Five air tankers, 25 bulldozers and 1,346 firefighters were battling the blaze. Its cause is under investigation.

At its peak, the fire was burning 500 acres an hour, officials said.

The fire grew quickly Monday because of dry conditions and gusty winds, officials said. Residents had just minutes to evacuate, and one school district official described the smoke minutes after the blaze ignited as a “black wall of smoke.”

The Clover fire started at about 12:30 p.m. Monday near Cloverdale Road, Cal Fire officials said.

Flames leaped over roads, and as homeowners tried to flee, some jumped into pools of water to escape flames, the Record Searchlight reported.

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