Dramatic California Rescue: Because a campground was trapped in a forest fire, the military had to come to the rescue with helicopters.
A rapidly spreading wildfire in the US state of California has affected countless campers and vacationers. More than 200 people were rescued using military helicopters, as the sheriff announced Sunday morning (local time) in Madera County. Accordingly, 20 injured people were taken to hospitals. The rescue operation at the Mammoth Pool reservoir is now complete.
One of the captured campers had previously sent a dramatic video from the flames. You can see it standing in a clearing by a lake, cars and RVs parked on the shore. The woods behind the clearing and the lake are completely on fire. As the man scans the area with the camera, he says, “We’re trapped. The fire is all around us. All roads are blocked.”
“There is fire on all sides, all around us.” Absolutely terrifying video of Mammoth Pools where more than 200 people were trapped when the Creek Fire exploded pic.twitter.com/xDb8huwWKe
– Brian Kahn (@blkahn) September 6, 2020
The flames of the so-called “Creek Fire” had spread to about 150 square miles in a national park in the Sierra Nevada southeast of San Francisco by Sunday. By way of comparison, that roughly corresponds to the area of the city of Augsburg.
A campground at the Mammoth Pool reservoir was cut off from the area because the fire prevented the access road. According to the fire department, the fire in the Sierra National Forest threatened up to 3,000 homes. Evacuation has been ordered for various locations.
Nearly 15,000 troops were deployed against the flames
The cause of the fire was initially unclear. Friday night the fire broke out – just before a long weekend in the US that many use for excursions. This Monday is a public holiday in the United States.
San Bernardino County, California: Firefighters arrive to fight a wildfire. (Source: Ringo H.W. Chiu / FR170512 / AP / dpa)
Across California, more than 14,800 emergency responders were involved in 23 major fires on Sunday, according to a fire situation report. It said more than 900 fires have broken out since the lightning strikes that started the first fires in mid-August. More than 6,000 square kilometers of land had been burned down. That is more than double the surface of Luxembourg. At least 8 people have died so far. Nearly 3,300 buildings were reportedly destroyed.
The forest fire season starts earlier than usual
The fire brigade called on residents of affected regions of the state to spend as little time outside as possible during this long holiday weekend due to the rising temperatures. It was warned of temperatures of up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius). In the current weather conditions, new fires can easily break out.
California, the most populous US state with a population of about 40 million, is home to severe wildfires again and again. However, these usually don’t hatch until fall. Especially in the beginning of this year Northern California was caught. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in mid-August over the “historic wildfires”.