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Death toll in McKinney Fire rises to four after two people are found dead in their burnt-out homes

Raging wildfires in Northern California have claimed two more lives, while the death toll rose to four of what has become the largest blaze in the state, caused by blistering heat and bone-dry conditions, authorities said Tuesday.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff said two bodies were found Monday in separate homes along Route 96, one of the few roads in and out of the area.

On Sunday, first responders found the first two bodies in a burnt-out vehicle in a gated driveway of a home near the Klamath River. Flames overtook the vehicle before they could escape.

“It’s really tragic when a fire starts so fast and moves so fast and basically takes out a community. And that’s what happened in the Klamath River area,” Mike Lindbery, a spokesman for the fire incident management team, said Tuesday.

The McKinney fire in Northern California has claimed four lives in five days as firefighters struggled to contain the blaze

The McKinney fire in Northern California has claimed four lives in five days as firefighters struggled to contain the blaze

Officers from the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office carry away the remains of one of two people burned in separate homes in the Klamath River area.

Officers from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office carry away the remains of one of two people burned in separate homes in the Klamath River area.

Officials said the devastating McKinney fire, the largest in the state, has been contained to zero percent

Officials said the devastating McKinney fire, the largest in the state, has been contained to zero percent

Authorities have not identified the dead pending notification to their families.

About 2,500 people had to evacuate the area and two million more have been warned of fires in the states of California, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska.

The McKinney Fire, as it’s called, tore through 88 square miles, fueled by 50 mph winds, and is considered the largest of the wildfires in the state.

It is certainly not the only one. There are 10 different fires in the area.

‘Klamath National Forest is a large and beautiful forest, but it also has steep and rugged terrain. And with that, combined with the high temperatures and low humidity, they all come into play and make it a very extreme fire hazard situation right now,” said Tom Stokesberry of the US Forest Service. KTVL.

The roaring inferno that threatens wildlife and homes in California has now become fatal - after four people are killed

The roaring inferno that threatens wildlife and homes in California has now become fatal – after four people are killed

The impending fire now engulfs 88 square miles of dry tinderbox wildland in the area as firefighters work tirelessly to calm the inferno

The impending fire now engulfs 88 square miles of dry tinderbox wildland in the area as firefighters work tirelessly to calm the inferno

Flames burn towards the Klamath River during the McKinney Fire in the Klamath National Forest northwest of Yreka, California

Flames burn towards the Klamath River during the McKinney Fire in the Klamath National Forest northwest of Yreka, California

The McKinney Fire burns near Yreka, California, as it destroyed 88 square miles of vegetation, destroyed a dozen homes and forced local residents to evacuate

The McKinney Fire burns near Yreka, California, as it destroyed 88 square miles of vegetation, destroyed a dozen homes and forced local residents to evacuate

The fire, which started on July 29, was considered contains zero percent on Tuesday.

California Governor Gavin Newsome declared a state of emergency on Monday, releasing state and federal funds to help the victims of the fire.

Cloudy weather and scattered rain continued to help firefighters Tuesday as bulldozers managed to surround the small and scenic tourist destination of Yreka with firebreaks. Crews cutting other firebreaks in steep, rugged terrain also made progress, firefighters said.

James ‘Mac’ Benton was forced to evacuate in his RV from his home in Klamath River on Friday.

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He got one of his dogs, Moon Bear, into the vehicle but had to leave one of his dogs behind — his three-month-old pit bull puppy Patches, along with another dog and his cat, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Early Saturday, as freelance videographer Jonathan Rivas captured the devastation in the area, Patches emerged sheepishly from the smoldering rubble, wagging his tail.

He took the dog to Rescue Ranch, a nearby no-kill shelter that has taken care of 165 dogs orphaned by the fire, where Benton was reunited with the dog.

“He’s very resourceful,” Benton told the Bee. “He’s a very smart dog.”

Patches, a three-month-old pit bull puppy was rescued on Saturday by a freelance videographer

Patches, a three-month-old pit bull puppy was rescued on Saturday by a freelance videographer

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Early Saturday, as freelance videographer Jonathan Rivas captured the devastation in the area, Patches emerged sheepishly from the smoldering rubble, wagging his tail.

He hasn’t heard anything about his other pets, but he hopes they will survive, according to a Facebook post from Rescue Ranch.

The fire continued about 6.5 km from the center of Yreka, a population of about 7,500.

“There are still a lot of people in the city, people who refused to leave,” he said. “Lots of people who don’t have vehicles and can’t go. It’s really sad.’

Thom has lived in Yreka all his life, but said it was the first time he had been threatened by a wildfire.

“I never thought it would ever happen,” he said. ‘I thought, ‘We are invincible.’ … This makes me a liar.’

Firefighters say they are doing everything they can to extinguish the fire.

“We’ve got it again,” said Todd Mack, a fire chief with the US Forest Service. “We’ve got the horsepower. And we’re going for it.’

The charred remains of a boat on a trailer can be seen near the McKinney Fire in the Klamath National Forest northwest of Yreka, California

The charred remains of a boat on a trailer can be seen near the McKinney Fire in the Klamath National Forest northwest of Yreka, California

A dead fawn is seen after the McKinney Fire engulfed the area, causing thousands of people to flee their homes

A dead fawn is seen after the McKinney Fire engulfed the area, causing thousands of people to flee their homes

But lightning over the weekend also sparked several smaller fires near the McKinney Fire. And despite much-needed moisture, the region’s forests and fields remained bone dry.

Among those waiting Monday for the fire at the Yreka shelter was Paisley Bamberg, 33. She arrived a few months ago from West Columbia, South Carolina, living in a motel with her six children, ranging in age from 15 to 1. year-old twins, when she was told to evacuate.

“I started throwing everything on my truck,” but had to leave a lot of things behind, she said.

Bamberg said she had just been hired at an Arby’s restaurant and wondered if it would survive the fire.

“There might not be much left when we get back,” she said. ‘I don’t know if I have a job. The children were supposed to go to school and I don’t know if the school is still there.’

Bamberg added: “I’m trying to keep my spirits up. I have six little people who depend on me. I cannot collapse or falter.’

Scientists have said that over the past three decades, climate change has made the West warmer and drier, and will continue to make the weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

The US Forest Service has closed a 110-mile stretch of the famed Pacific Crest Trail in Northern California and southern Oregon. According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon, authorities helped evacuate 60 hikers in that area on Saturday.

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