It’s been more than 40 years since Roger Derry, 80, and his son moved into their little but beautiful town in Northern California’s Klamath River region.
Most of the town’s 200 or so citizens are familiar faces to them.
After California’s deadliest and largest wildfire of the year ravaged the small riverside community, they’re one of the few remaining families.
“It’s a terrible thing to witness. Derry described it as “disappointing.” Our oldest homes, some of which are over 100 years old, have been demolished.” It’s a tiny town. Most of the residents are decent people who will reconstruct the area in due course. Even so, it’s going to take a while.
Although firefighters made some headway in the McKinney Fire, which erupted on Friday, it was still out of control despite the rainstorms that brought some relief to a parched, burnt area just north of the Oregon border.
Another thunderstorm swept over the area on Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and swollen waterways.
The largest of numerous wildfires raging in the Klamath National Forest, it has scorched an area of more than 88 square miles (228 square kilometres).
Firefighters were able to use bulldozers to construct firebreaks along a ridge to safeguard Yreka’s houses and structures from the blaze on Tuesday, according to fire officials.
- California Bans Kangaroo Leather, Lawsuits Challenge its Presence
- McKinney Fire Burns 51k Acres in California in 2022
At least four individuals have been found dead in the area, which is still under mandatory evacuation orders for many thousand residents.
Wildfires in the Western United States are becoming more intense, and the destruction of a small town is now a real possibility.
Home losses from the recent wildfires in the U.S. states of Montana, Idaho, and Nebraska have yet to be fully assessed.
After a devastating wildfire nearly destroyed the town of Paradise, California, in the Sierra Nevada foothills just four years ago, 85 people perished.
Since the mid-1980s, climate change has increased the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including wildfires, across the western United States.
The McKinney Fire was only a few hundred acres in size when it started, and firefighters anticipated they would be able to put it out soon. However, within hours, a thunderstorm cell with fierce wind gusts had propelled it into a raging inferno.
Rodger Derry and his son Roger decided not to escape when the fire broke out and reported their home, which they’d tried to preserve by pruning away neighbouring shrubs, had survived. Rodger Derry’s son’s name is Rodger Derry. There were also a number of firefighters who showed up and started digging firebreaks in the area.
However, they could see the flames tearing through the buildings in their immediate vicinity.
“That fire had 100-foot flames for approximately five miles when it crossed that ridgeline, and the wind was blowing. Roger Derry described it as a “solid blowtorch” coming down. As the saying goes, “there was nothing that could be done about it.”
At least one trailer park was completely destroyed, along with the town’s post office and a few other businesses.
Nobody knows why this happened.
On the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana, authorities say they don’t yet know if any of the structures that were destroyed by a fire on Friday were residences. Fire officials said that the incident had grown to a size of 25 square miles (66 square kilometres) and was only 10% contained as of Tuesday. The fire was fanned by strong winds in the afternoon on Monday, forcing several inhabitants to leave their homes.
As of Wednesday, the Moose Fire in Idaho had grown to 85 square miles (220 square kilometres) and was threatening houses, mining operations and fisheries in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. According to the National Interagency Coordination Center, it was 23 per cent contained on Tuesday.
In addition, an out-of-control wildfire in northeastern Nebraska prompted evacuations and destroyed or damaged many homes near the town of Gering. On Saturday, two different fires in Carter Canyon converged to form one large blaze. By Tuesday, it was more than 30% contained.