(Reuters) – California’s Caldor fire moved closer to more heavily populated areas in the northern part of the state on Sunday, leading to more evacuation orders and warnings as well as road closures, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
The fire has been active for 14 days and has spread across 168,387 acres, the department added, saying it has caused evacuation orders in multiple counties.
The department issued updated evacuation warnings for El Dorado County that include the remainder of the South Lake Tahoe Basin.
The fire is 13% contained and has damaged 39 residential, commercial and other structures while destroying over 650 such structures so far. The fire has also led to 5 injuries to firefighters and civilians, according to the department’s website.
“Today saw a significant increase in dynamic fire behavior resulting in rapid fire spread. Critical fuel conditions and the alignment of up-slope canyon winds increased extreme fire behavior in the early morning,” the department said on Sunday.
California, which typically has experienced its peak fire season in late summer and fall, is already on pace to see more of its landscape go up in flames this year than last, the worst year on record.
“The smoke from the Caldor Fire and wildfires across the west have created dangerous air quality levels for some communities,” U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said in a tweet on Sunday.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra)