Town of Weaverville evacuated due to raging fire
WEAVERVILLE, Calif. (AP) – The entire town of Weaverville was evacuated Tuesday evening, including a hospital and the county jail, due to a raging 1,000-acre fire, according to officials from the California Department of Forestry
The fire is burning in both directions and winds estimated up to 30 mph were hampering firefighters’ efforts, said CDF spokesman Jason Martin.
He estimated about 3,000 people live in the town, but said they were unable to go to the evacuation shelter located within the town. Many evacuees have taken shelter at the Victorian Inn, located just south of the town. Others have gone to stay with relatives and friends in the area, said Bob Flint, a volunteer with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department.
Dennis Hodges, manager of the Victorian Inn, said there were 1,000 to 1,200 evacuees gathered at the Victorian Restaurant next door, which has been set up as the evacuation center.
Hodges said a line of cars also were streaming out of town toward Redding.
Smoke from the fire could be seen 24 miles away in Hayfork, he said.
Martin said the Trinity County fire started this afternoon and has destroyed some structures in town, but the number was unknown. He added part of California 299, the mountainous road leading into the town, has been closed due to the fast-moving fire.
No injuries were reported, but Martin said 1,229 firefighters were battling the blaze on the ground. There were six air tankers and eight helicopters fighting the blaze before dark fell.
Martin said the cause of the fire is unknown.
”I guess it’s crazy out there,” he said. ”There are two heads on the fire, so it’s moving in two different directions. It’s ugly.”
Martin said the mandatory evacuation was ordered about 7:30 p.m. The town is located about 40 miles northwest of Redding.
”The winds are blowing really bad, and that doesn’t help,” Martin said. ”That’s no friend to the firefighter.”
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