Western Wildfires Update: Lodge Fire Burns Firefighters in California

Hat Creek, California

Remington Jones, of the Point Reyes National Seashore, Calif., Engine 1130, works on putting out hot spots left behind by the Eiler Fire on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, near Burney, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(SOURCE)  CalFire officials said that eight firefighters sustained “minor” burns while battling the Lodge Fire in northern California’s Mendocino County Friday night.

The firefighters were airlifted to the burn center at the University of California, Davis, where they were released “just hours” after treatment, the Associated Press reports. A CalFire spokesperson told KXTV that the firefighters — three from Santa Clara County, the five others inmates from Salt Creek Camp, a minimum security prison — sustained “serious, but not life threatening” injuries in the incident.

CalFire remained mum on the cause of the injuries as the incident is still under investigation, but stressed that that incident is a microcosm of a larger, dangerous fire problem across the state.

“It’s proving that this year it’s a very dangerous fire season. The drought conditions are very tough,” Cal Fire spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff told KXTV. “It’s scary enough for our firefighters. We urge the public if a wildfire is coming your way, you need to get out.”

And that’s exactly the plea that CalFire issued to residents Saturday, as the Lodge Fire burned wildly on its eastern flank. The department issued an evacuation order, indicating an “imminent threat to life and property,” for the communities of Camp Seabow, Elder Place, Tan Oak Park, Bald Mountain Ranch, Mad Creek and Elk Creek to the east of Brush Mountain. The blaze was said to be threatening at least 60 structures in the area.

The fire, which ballooned to 7,500 acres and was just 30 percent contained Sunday, is just one of dozens of wildfires across California and the Pacific Northwest, fueled by dry conditions from a lingering drought.

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