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California's King Fire More Than Doubles



    California's King Fire More Than Doubles
    Cal Fire/US Forest Service Facebook page
    Smoke billows from King Fire near Pollock Pines. Sept. 16, 2014

    When residents of El Dorado County, 60 miles from Sacramento, went to sleep Wednesday night, the King Fire threatening their homes was nearly 30,000 acres.

    When they woke up Thursday morning, the blaze had more than doubled to more than 70,000 acres, according to Cal Fire, and was only 5 percent contained.

    Slightly more than 2,000 homes, and more than 1,500 other structures were in the dangerous line of fire near Pollock Pines in Northern California, according to the the daily Cal Fire update. On Wednesday, 500 homes were threatened.

    Despite that, no structures have actually burned, unlike in the town of Weed in Siskiyou county, where more than 1,000 structures, mostly homes and two churches, suffered damage from the Boles Fire there. On Thursday, the fire in Weed, which had burned 375 acres, was 65 percent contained, and Highway 97 had been reopened.

    The King Fire is burning in steep terrain in the South Fork of the American River Canyon and Silver Creek Canyon, and so far, has caused two injuries. While the largest fire currently blazing in California, it is more than three times smaller than the Rim Fire near Yosemite, which burned about 250,000 acres last August, becoming California's third largest wildfire in history.

    As a result of the King Fire, a portion of Highway 50 was closed, and many evacuations were in place. A King Fire Facebook page was set up by Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service to keep the community alerted with up-to-date information.

    The page was full of community members offering consolation and help. Yvette Cadeaux offered to take in "goats, dogs or a horse or two down here in Grass Valley for anyone who needs to place their critters."

    Laura Owens, who wrote in that her husband works for animal control, thanked all the "staff and teams on the fire lines and behind the scenes coordinating the efforts. We appreciate all of you!"

    As of Thursday, more than 3,600 firefighters were fighting the King Fire.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation.