A growing California wildfire spanning over 12,500 acres is forcing residents to evacuate

Jun 2, 2024, 2:09 PM

In this image from an AlertCalifornia/UC San Diego monitoring camera, smoke rises from the Corral F...

In this image from an AlertCalifornia/UC San Diego monitoring camera, smoke rises from the Corral Fire near the city of Tracy, California, on June 1. (AlertCalifornia/UC San Diego/AP)

(AlertCalifornia/UC San Diego/AP)

(CNN)A growing grass fire that began Saturday afternoon in San Joaquin County, California, has consumed over 12,500 acres, forcing residents in its path to evacuate the area, officials say.

The Corral Fire began in the City of Tracy around 2:30 p.m. and was only 15% contained as of Sunday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the department.

Area officials had recently warned that gusty winds, hotter temperatures and dried out grass could create dangerous fire conducive conditions.

“Areas west of the California Aqueduct, South of Corral Hollow Creek, West to Alameda County and South to Stanislaus County should leave now,” the county said Saturday.

Earlier Saturday night, San Joaquin County officials instructed Tracy residents nearest to the Corral Fire to flee and told others nearby that they “should be ready to leave.” A temporary evacuation site has been set up at Larch Clover Community Center for impacted residents.

Two Alameda County firefighters were injured while responding to the fire, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Josh Silveira told CNN early Sunday morning. They had minor to moderate injuries and were transported to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment, Silveira said.

“Praying for our Tracy neighbors and first responders,” Mayor Kevin J Lincoln, of the neighboring City of Stockton, said on social media late Saturday night.

A section of I-580 is closed in both directions due to the “major grass fire, smoke, and zero visibility,” according to the California Department of Transportation.

The fire could spread farther with gusty winds expected to continue overnight in the area with speeds up to 40 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento. Sweltering heat into the upcoming week could multiply dangerous fire conditions.

“An Excessive Heat Watch across the Valley and adjacent foothills for Tuesday into Thursday continues with afternoon highs of 95-107˚F forecasted,” the weather service said.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection recently suspended all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and western San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

The department said the suspension was due to increasing fire danger posed by the hot, dry conditions in the region. Also contributing are warming temperatures and winds that make for a high volume of dead grass. Firefighters have responded to over 1,200 wildfires across the state so far this year, the department said Friday.

“As the summer heat intensifies, CAL FIRE Santa Clara Unit’s commitment and unwavering efforts remain steadfast in safeguarding California’s communities from wildfires. By staying vigilant and following fire safety and prevention guidelines, we can work together to mitigate the risk and protect our communities,” Santa Clara Unit Chief Baraka Carter said.

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A growing California wildfire spanning over 12,500 acres is forcing residents to evacuate