Pilot of Helicopter That Crashed While Fighting California Wildfire Dies

A plume of smoke rises from the River Fire located southeast of Salinas. Evacuation orders are underway

A plume of smoke rises from the River Fire located southeast of Salinas. Evacuation orders are underway. Michelle Loxton

To the south of San Francisco in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, about 22,000 people were ordered to evacuate because of a fire burning in dense wooded parkland that threatened communities, Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox said.

At least nine fires raced through hills and mountains in the North Bay's wine country about 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Sacramento, destroying over 105 homes and other structures.

CalFire announced August 20 that it has issued an "Evacuation Warning" for areas bordering Santa Clara County.

"(The Jones Fire) is a priority to the state of California and coordinating groups, and the reason for that is the continued threat of the fire to communities, both incorporated and non-incorporated, in Nevada County", said Estes.

The pilot was the the only person aboard the helicopter, Cal Fire said.

"The fire damaged the park's headquarters, historic core and campgrounds", park officials said. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

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Dozens of wildfires raging through Northern California have reportedly killed at least 5 people this week, including a Pacific Gas & Electric worker who was helping first responders and a pilot on a water-dropping mission who was killed in a crash.

"That's a unsafe rate of spread", See said.

Several residents in north San Benito County might be affected by the SCU Lightning Complex Fire as the blaze continues to grow farther south. In Napa County, residents formed a renegade fire brigade who used their own hoses and chainsaws to help save a neighbor's home. "Some of the terrain has little to no fire history with decadent fuels conducive to extreme fire growth".

Wildfires are burning across the state, some sparked by lightning strikes from dry thunderstorms, and many caused by human activity.

Newsom spoke at the virtual Democratic National Convention on Thursday from a forest near California's Central Coast after visiting a nearby Red Cross evacuation center.

Cal Fire reported no containment Thursday night.

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"We're still drastically short for a fire of this size", he said.

The recent sustained high winds have made an ideal environment for risky fire conditions throughout the region, and the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued Red Flag Warnings for the area.

"That's going to allow our firefighters that have have been on the front line since this weekend have an opportunity to take some rest", Berlant said.

Some firefighters were working 72-hour shifts instead of the usual 24 hours.

Crews say they will likely remain in the Bay Area through Friday due to "resource need", according to the SLO City Fire Department's Twitter page.

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