Death toll in Northern California wildfire zone rises to 4

  • A search and rescue canine leaves a home leveled by the McKinney Fire on Monday in Klamath National Forest, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

KLAMATH RIVER, Calif. — Two more bodies were found within the burn zone of a huge Northern California wildfire, raising the death toll to four in the state’s largest blaze of the year, authorities said Tuesday.

Search teams discovered the additional bodies Monday at separate residences along State Route 96, one of the only roads in and out of the remote region near the state line with Oregon, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

ADVERTISING


“This brings the confirmed fatality number to four,” the sheriff’s statement said. “At this time there are no unaccounted for persons.” Other details were not immediately disclosed.

Sheriff’s officials said two bodies were also found Sunday inside a charred vehicle in the driveway of a home near the tiny unincorporated community of Klamath River, which was largely destroyed in the McKinney Fire.

The fire jumped the Klamath River over the weekend and raged through the tiny community of about 200, destroying many of the homes along with the post office, community hall and other scattered businesses.

“When that fire came over that ridgeline, it had 100-foot flames for about 5 miles and the wind was blowing. It was coming down like a solid blowtorch. There was nothing to stop it,” said Roger Derry, 80, whose home was among a handful that survived.

“It’s very sad. It’s very disheartening,” said his son, whose name is spelled Rodger Derry. “Some of our oldest homes, 100-year-old homes, are gone. It’s a small community. Good people, good folks, for the most part, live here and in time will rebuild. But it’s going to take some time now.”

More than 100 homes, sheds and other buildings have burned in the McKinney Fire since it erupted last Friday. The blaze remained out of control, authorities said.

Thunderstorms dumped some much-needed rain on Monday and into Tuesday even as temperatures hit the 90s Fahrenheit (above 32.2 Celsius) and the brush, fields and forest remained generally bone-dry.

But the storms also meant a threat of lightning strikes that already sparked several small blazes and the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch through late Tuesday night because of concerns that heavy rain could send rocks, mud and water pouring down the fire-scorched slopes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.