California crews make fire gains; Washington town evacuated

KLAMATH RIVER, Calif. — California firefighters made gains against the state’s deadliest and largest wildfire of the year just as an eastern Washington town was being evacuated Thursday because of a blaze that was burning homes.

At about 1:30 p.m. the Adams County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook that homes in Lind had burned.

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“At this time all residents of the town of Lind need to evacuate immediately,” the sheriff’s office said in the post.

Later Thursday, Sheriff Dale Wagner said six homes had burned as well as eight other structures. With the help of state and local resources, Wagner said the fire was starting to calm down and only the south end of town remained under evacuation orders.

“They will be fighting it through the night to make sure it doesn’t flare up anymore or get worse,” he said, adding that firefighters were dealing with high heat and windy conditions.

He said one firefighter suffered smoke inhalation and was flown to Spokane for treatment.

Lind is a community of about 500 people approximately 75 miles (121 kilometers) southwest of Spokane.

The State Fire Marshal’s office said the blaze had burned through about 3.9 square miles (10.1 square kilometers). Homes, infrastructure and crops were threatened. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Meanwhile, in California, forecasters warned Thursday that spiking temperatures and plunging humidity levels could create conditions for further wildfire growth.

After five days of no containment, the McKinney Fire in Siskiyou County near the Oregon border was 10% surrounded by Wednesday evening. Bulldozers and hand crews were making progress carving firebreaks around much of the rest of the blaze, fire officials said.

At the fire’s southeastern corner, evacuation orders for sections of Yreka, home to about 7,800 people, were downgraded to warnings, allowing residents to return home but with a caution that the situation remained dangerous.

About 1,300 people remained under evacuation orders, officials said at a community meeting Wednesday evening.

The fire didn’t advance much at midweek, following several days of brief but heavy rain from thunderstorms that provided cloudy, damper weather.