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Massive Fire Sweeps Through Thompson, Oroville: Thousands of Homes Threatened and Key Infrastructure at Risk

Burning cityscape at dusk

Massive Fire Rages in Thompson, Oroville: Thousands of Homes and Key Infrastructure Threatened

The town of Oroville in Butte County, California, is currently in the grip of a rapidly spreading fire that has ravaged the area over the last 48 hours. The fire, named the Thompson, Oroville Fire, has already consumed over 3,600 acres and is yet to be contained.

Immediate Evacuation Ordered

In the face of the escalating blaze, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Order for several zones in and around the city. Over 3,000 residential units remain under imminent threat from the uncontained wildfire. Moreover, the threat to critical infrastructure, including powerlines, remains high as state authorities scramble to control the situation.

Initial estimates place the timeline for full containment around July 12, 2024. Currently, around 415 firefighting personnel are deployed at the fire site.

Rapid Rate of Fire Spread Alarms Authorities

Authorities are gravely concerned about the wildfire’s rapid rate of spread. Mandatory evacuation warnings have been issued for extensive zones throughout Oroville. Meanwhile, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office has ordered immediate evacuation for specific areas as the fire continues to roar.

Short-range spotting of fires on the east side of Cherokee south of Oregon Gulch has also been reported. Thompson Air Attack estimates that the flames have spread to about 3,600 hectares at the time of writing.

Health Advisory and Emergency Support

Meanwhile, health authorities in Sutter County Public Health, Yuba County Public Health, and the Feather River Air Quality Management District have issued an air quality health advisory. Wildfire smoke from the Thompson Fire has significantly worsened air quality in the region, especially in places like Oregon House and Dobbins.

The advisory warns of increased smoke particulate concentrations that may settle into the valley floor overnight. Predictions suggest that PM2.5 levels are anticipated to remain in the moderate to unhealthy range through tomorrow.

For those forced to flee their homes, an evacuation shelter has been set up at the Oroville Church of the Nazarene. The local church is working in conjunction with emergency management officials to provide refuge and resources to those affected by the disaster.

Animal Shelters Established

Animal shelters have also been established to aid in evacuating local wildlife and domesticated animals. The Large Animal Shelter at Camelot, Oroville is providing respite for big animals, while the Small Animal Shelter at Del Oro, Oroville is taking in smaller species.

Next Steps for Butte County

As the situation on the ground remains dynamic, Thompson Air Attack has requested additional resources to combat the wildfire. It has called for two, and if possible, three Very Large Air Tanker (VLATs) and three more tankers to support the ongoing containment effort.

In tandem, firefighters have asked for the de-energizing of all transmission lines in and around the fire perimeter due to potential fire hazards. The team requires additional help to subdue the fire that has proven to be one of the largest challenges for the community in recent history.

The collective efforts of the county’s law enforcement, emergency services, health authorities, and community organizations are ongoing to manage the wildfires, safeguard residents, and protect crucial infrastructure. As the events unfold, further updates will be provided.

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Massive Fire Sweeps Through Thompson, Oroville: Thousands of Homes Threatened and Key Infrastructure at Risk

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