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Video: Thompson Fire Forces Mass Evacuation in Northern California

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A rapidly spreading wildfire in Northern California has forced the evacuation of over 28,000 residents in Butte County. The Thompson Fire, which began Tuesday morning near Oroville, has grown to 3,568 acres with zero containment as of Wednesday afternoon.

The blaze has already destroyed at least four structures and threatens 12,000 more. Due to this, California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for Butte County, mobilizing additional resources to combat the fire.

“We are using every available tool to tackle this fire and will continue to work closely with our local and federal partners to support impacted communities,” the California Governor said in his statement. “As we head into some of the most challenging months of wildfire season, the state is better prepared than ever to protect at-risk communities with new tools, technology and resources.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also approved funds to assist in firefighting efforts. Over 1,400 personnel are battling the flames, including firefighters from neighboring jurisdictions. Four firefighters have suffered minor heat-related injuries, but no civilian casualties have been reported.

The fire is burning in heavily populated areas, particularly Kelly Ridge, where homes on small lots are at risk. Winds are driving the fire’s spread, complicating firefighting efforts.

Smoke from the Thompson Fire has begun to affect air quality as far south as the Bay Area. Butte County officials are distributing N95 masks to residents to protect against hazardous air conditions.

Additionally, the fire has forced the closure of the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area through at least July 4th. State Water Project facilities have been evacuated, though officials stress there is no current threat to Oroville Dam.

This wildfire is one of 17 currently active in California, as the state faces a dangerous heat wave. The extreme conditions have led to the cancellation of several Fourth of July celebrations in the region.

Local authorities are urging residents to be extremely cautious with any activities that could potentially spark new fires, especially as the holiday weekend approaches. The cause of the Thompson Fire remains under investigation.

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