Gap fire destroys 5 homes, causes mass evacuations in Northern California

Seiad Valley, Calif. — Firefighters are battling a 5,000 acre fire in Northern California, spreading ash even into the Rogue Valley. The Gap fire started Saturday evening, and quickly grew in the hot conditions on Sunday.

It has destroyed five homes and numerous outbuildings, and forced the evacuation of 50 families. A shelter has been set up the Yreka Fairgrounds, although no one has used their resources yet.

“Always happy when we don’t have anyone, because it means that people have been able to find others places to stay, friends, relatives,” Lew Bornmann said, the shelter manager.

Fifty residences in the communities of Horse Creek and Hamburg have been forced out by the blaze. It sparked Saturday night, rapidly spreading from 120 acres to 5,000 as of Monday evening.

“The fire spotted across Highway 96 onto the other side of the river,” U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Jeff Marszal said the fire has also forced the closure of Highway 96. “It grew to about 15 acres, and some debris and things were falling onto the road, there was active fire along the highway, so we found it prudent to have the road closed.”

Highway 96 is expected to be opened either Monday night or Sunday morning, depending on the conditions. As of Monday night, fire officials are working to create a fire line, and keep the flames away from homes.

“Its really about coming up with a plan, a long term plan, to figure out some strategies, to begin to contain this fire, right now, it’s not contained,” Marszal said.

In the meantime, Bornmann is ready to help.

“We’ll do anything we can to try and make people as comfortable as we can,” Bornmann said.

If you would like to help evacuees, you can make a donation to the Red Cross. For more information, click here.

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