The fast-moving Mill Fire erupted on Friday in the area of the Roseburg Forest Products mill in Weed, a small city just over 50 miles from the Oregon border.
The fire is burning through more than 900 acres and forced thousands to leave their homes in the communities of Weed, Lake Shastina and Edgewood.
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While firefighters continue to battle the Mill Fire burning in the area of Weed and Lake Shastina, six air tankers are being diverted to a second fire that started about an hour ago in the area of Gazelle.
The Mountain Fire is burning in heavy brush on the west side of Interstate 5 north of Weed. Firefighters there have reported that no structures are threatened.
Firefighters continue to battle strong winds while they fight the Mill and Mountain fires.
Those conditions won’t change until Friday night, said Jay Stockton, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Medford. Weather conditions are ripe for fires to continue spreading until 11 p.m.
Friday afternoon, strong southeast winds blew up to 24 mph, with 36 mph gusts, Stockton said. Temperatures reached 98 degrees in Weed and brush is incredibly dry: 5% humidity.
“That combination of windy and dry is what’s creates conditions for rapid fire growth,” he said.
A red flag warning is in effect until 11 p.m. Friday, at which time the winds should calm down, Stockton said. Temperatures should cool to the mid-50s, increasing moisture in the air.
All that could help firefighters get a better handle on the fires, he said.
About 8,300 residents in Weed and Mount Shasta in Siskiyou County and Lucerne in Lake County were hit by a power outage shortly before 1 p.m. on Friday, according to electric power company PacifiCorp.
A cause of the outage is under investigation, said company spokesman Brandon Zero. Crews have been dispatched to the area, he said.
3:55 p.m.: Fire threatening Carrick outside Weed
Firefighters are communicating to each that the fire is threatening to jump Highway 97 and burn into the small community of Carrick just outside Weed.
The Mill Fire burning north of Weed toward Lake Shastina is now more than 900 acres, Cal Fire reports.
Firefighters are asking for all strike teams to come to the Jackson Ranch Road area. Earlier, the fire jumped Jackson Ranch Road and started burning into Lake Shastina.
Currently, there is no containment.
All zones east of Interstate 5 from Weed to county road A12, south of county road A12 from Grenada to Highway 97, west of Highway 97 from A12 to I-5, Cal Fire said.
There is an evacuation Shelter at the Karuk wellness center in Yreka at 1403 Kahtishraam.
Meanwhile, all remaining Weed High School students were bussed to Mt. Shasta High School for pick up, officials said.
The Mill Fire has jumped Jackson Ranch Road and is burning into the community of Lake Shastina, which is north of Weed, crews battling the blaze report. Firefighters also have asked for at least five more strike teams to help fight the fire.
Meanwhile, a temporary evacuation center is being set up at the Siskiyou County Fairgrounds in Yreka, according to scanner reports.
2:45 p.m.: Mill Fire grows to 555 acres
The communities of Weed, Lake Shastina and Edgewood are under evacuation orders as of 2 p.m. Friday due to the Mill Fire, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff Office’s Facebook page.
Residents in those areas are asked to leave immediately.
Use caution, as emergency vehicles are assisting with evacuations, structure protection and fire suppression efforts. For more information, call 2 1 1. Real-time evacuation zone statuses are available on aware.zonehaven.com.
The Mill Fire near Weed has grown to 555 acres since first being reported on Friday afternoon, officials said.
The wildfire broke out the same day that the area was under a red flag warning due to high temperatures, gusty winds and low humidity. The chance of rain in the area remains in the single digits through Tuesday.
The wind was blowing north at 20 mph in the Weed and Lake Shastina areas on Friday afternoon, according to Windfinder.com.
Southerly winds of about 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph, could emerge through Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.
Saturday’s forecast calls for sun with widespread haze and a high near 89. Calmer winds becoming northwest at between 5 to 8 mph are expected in the afternoon, according to the weather service.
Pacific Power had not reported any outages in greater Weed as of mid-afternoon on Friday.
Firefighters battling the Mill Fire are recommending not to release students at Weed High School. They are asking the students to stay on campus for now, according to scanner reports.
Meanwhile, mandatory evacuations are being called for all residents east of Interstate 5 to Jackson Ranch Road. Firefighters say the blaze has reached Jackson Ranch Road.
Also, all of Lake Shastina is under a mandatory evacuation order.
Evacuation warnings are in place along Highway 97 in the Mt. Shasta Vista neighborhood.
1:49 p.m.: Evacuations ordered
Evacuation orders have been issued in the community of Weed due to a fire that started Friday afternoon in the area of Roseburg Forest Products mill.
Highway 97 is closed from the junction of Highway 265 in Weed to south of Macdoel due the Mill Fire, the California Department of Transportation said.
Firefighters are also asking for Jackson Ranch Road to be closed so residents who are evacuating in that area have a clear route out of the neighborhood, according to emergency scanner reports.
The fire also has reached Hoy Road.
Firefighters report that traffic in the area is backed up due to all the evacuations.
At least one ambulance has been dispatched to treat a burn victim and a medical triage has been set up to treat other burn victims, scanner reports said.