Mosquito fire surpasses 63,000 acres to become largest blaze in California this year
By RYAN FOWLER and JOSH JOHNSON, Associated Press
Posted Jun. 3, 2018, at 4:25 p.m.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The death toll from a wildfire in northern California has risen to three, and it’s expected to rise much higher in coming days as firefighters battle an 18-square-mile blaze in the mountains that has already destroyed more than 1,000 buildings, homes and roads.
The most destructive of those fires was started last week on federal land, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and that led to the swift passage of legislation that authorized an emergency declaration by Gov. Jerry Brown to use funds to pay for the evacuation of the northern San Francisco Bay-area counties and to provide more federal fire assistance to nearby communities.
Brown also sent out an order Thursday night telling state agencies that had an emergency evacuation plan in place to call the National Guard to assist if the governor’s request for help is needed. The evacuation of Monterey County and San Benito County was ordered Friday evening.
“We did what we felt we had to do,” Brown said. “And the federal government was very supportive. They’re giving the support we need to get this fire contained.”
A wildfire has completely destroyed the historic Mission Dolores Church in the city of Ventura, the first major structure to lose its landmark building in the state.
The blaze was under attack from gusty Santa Ana winds Friday as firefighters sought to contain it to two mountain ridges.
A woman was taken to a hospital after being injured in the Camp fire near Big Bear City. She was in critical condition after the attack, but a hospital spokeswoman said the condition of the patient was “not life-threatening.”
Earlier Friday, fire officials said they have made a significant amount of progress in containing the fire and have no threat of it spreading in the Sierra.
“The firefighters are now in a different position than they were this morning,” Steve Clark, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said. “They will continue to make progress as we make some strides in the containment.”
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