Fire season in California has been harsh the past few years and this season is proving to be no different. Two enormous wildfires in Northern California, near the border of Oregon, have combined to create the largest wildfire that California has seen since the Camp and Woolsey fire in 2018.
According to the Incident Information System, which is providing updates on the fire, the Gillem and Caldwell fires merged last week to create a burn area of over 79,000 acres. The two combined wildfires, located in Modoc National Forest, are now referred to as the Caldwell fire. With the addition of two other much smaller wildfires in the same area, the burned acreage is up to 81,000.
In yesterday’s report, the incident commander, Mike Nobles noted that the fire was 45% contained. As of yet, there are no official reports regarding the progress of fire containment for today. However, a map on the Incident Information System website suggests that the Caldwell fire could now be up to 61% contained.
Gusty winds paired with hot dry temperatures today were expected to exacerbate the inferno and long-term weather forecasts aren’t looking too promising either. A mandatory evacuation order is currently in place for the Medicine Lake Recreation area. At this time, there are no other evacuation orders, though that could change due to the fire’s proximity to towns in the Siskyou and Modoc county.
The massive scale of the Caldwell fire presents a foreboding possibility for what’s to come later this season. Caldwell has already surpassed all 2019 wildfires in size and it’s likely that California’s peak fire season is far from over. Hopefully, Caldwell will be contained soon and all first-responders will stay safe. For updates on the fire, check out the Incident Information System website.