The wildfire burning in Siskiyou County near the California-Oregon border exploded overnight with hot wind quickly approaching neighborhoods, prompting evacuation orders.
As of Sunday, the McKinney Fire has burned 51,648 acres and is 0% contained.
More than 100 homes were evacuated, and authorities have warned people to be on high alert. A portion of Highway 96 is closed due to the smoke from the fire.
The McKinney Fire is now the largest wildfire this season in California.
According to fire officials, the fire started Friday and was just burning over 1 square mile to over 62 square miles by Saturday. It has burned down at least a dozen residences and wildlife were seen escaping from the area to avoid the flames.
“It’s continuing to grow with erratic winds and thunderstorms in the area and we’re in triple digit temperatures,” said Caroline Quintanilla, a spokeswoman at Klamath National Forest.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Saturday as the fire intensified.
It also allows “firefighting resources from other states to assist California crews in battling the fires,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
A significant build-up of vegetation was fueling the McKinney fire, said Tom Stokesberry, a spokesman with the U.S. Forest Service for the region.
“It’s a very dangerous fire – the geography there is steep and rugged, and this particular area hasn’t burned in a while,” he said.