Thompson Fire burns in northern California

Thousands were ordered to evacuate in northern California ahead of a fire  burning in Butte County, as an “exceptionally dangerous and lethal” heat wave in the West is building. Cal Fire reported that three firefighters suffered injuries on the fire and thousands of people were still evacuated early today  near Oroville. Several others were injured today. 

Soaring temperatures — forecasted to hold into next week – have parched the already-dry vegetation in the area.

The Mercury-News reported that the Thompson Fire has spread around Oroville Dam — the tallest dam in the United States — at one point burning on the dam itself.

Authorities initially evacuated more than 28,000 people from Oroville and  neighboring communities in Butte County, and by Wednesday the fire had grown to almost 3600 acres with zero containment and temperatures well into the triple digits.

Thompson Fire evacuations -- Cal Fire map
Thompson Fire evacuations — Cal Fire map

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the fire area, according to CNN,  bringing on  additional suppression resources including the California National Guard.

The Mercury-News has a dandy photo gallery online; they reported that the Thompson Fire was one of a half dozen wildfires that started Tuesday in northern California and the Central Coast; it took off around 11 a.m. near Oroville.

More than 1,400 firefighters were working the fire, along with eight helicopters, 199 engines, and 46 bulldozers. Several large airtankers also were on the fire.

The town is about 20 miles south of Paradise, where the catastrophic Camp Fire killed more than 70 people in the 2018 disaster. The city of Oroville’s July 4 fireworks celebration was canceled by California State Parks on Wednesday.