Flames roared through a national forest on the far northern end of California on Tuesday, prompting an evacuation of nearby residents.
The fire inside Klamath National Forest started on Monday night near Slater Butte Lookout — about 330 miles northwest of Sacramento — and had consumed at least 1,000 acres by Tuesday afternoon, USDA Forest Service spokesman Duane Lyon said.
There are no permanent structures immediately around Slater Butte Lookout, popular for hunting and fishing, but flames were headed toward homes in the nearby town of Happy Camp, authorities said.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office has ordered everyone in the small community to leave, a dispatcher said.
National, state and local firefighters are fighting flames in harsh conditions, with temperatures expected to hit 102 degrees and winds gusting up to 25 mph.
“You can see flames on the ridge, it’s just nuts,” Happy Camp resident Ryan Mitchell told NBC News shortly after noon, estimating he was about a mile from the fire. “I can see the flames right now and it’s crispy.”
Many residents in the town of a little more than 1,000 people own horses, chickens, sheep and cows. Mitchell, 26, fears some might not be able to pack up all their animals before the fast moving fire hits.
“We’re not going to have time, that thing is hauling ass down the hill, it’s bad,” Mitchell said. “You can feel the heat in the meadows, you can feel the 10- or 15-degrees change, you can feel it.”
The Slater Fire is among dozens of blazes bedeviling first responders across America’s largest state.
Nearly 14,000 firefighters were battling 25 wildfires across the Golden State, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
This is a developing story, please refresh here for updates.
Matteo Moschella and Kathryn Prociv contributed.