Evacuation Nightmare: Thousands Flee, Firefighters Injured, Structures Destroyed in Butte County Wildfire – Full Coverage and Updates Here!

OROVILLE, CALIFORNIA – A devastating wildfire ravaging Butte County has prompted widespread evacuations, leaving several firefighters injured and numerous structures destroyed, officials confirmed on Wednesday. The inferno, known as the Thompson Fire, ignited near Cherokee and Thompson Flat Cemetery roads on July 2 at 11 a.m., rapidly spreading and triggering evacuation orders that now encompass parts of Oroville.

The escalating crisis led city officials to declare a local emergency on Tuesday, with Governor Gavin Newsom later securing a Fire Management Assistance Grant for Butte County in a bid to contain the Thompson Fire. Governor Newsom subsequently declared a state of emergency for the blaze, emphasizing the state’s commitment to leveraging every resource available to combat the fire and protect affected communities.

Due to the severity of the situation, Oroville’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration has been canceled, and the closure of Lake Oroville Recreation Area has been extended until Friday. In anticipation of the heightened wildfire activity, the city also imposed a temporary ban on the use of safe-and-sane fireworks.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Thompson Fire had scorched 3,568 acres, with NBC News reporting that eight firefighters sustained injuries while battling the flames. Despite efforts by first responders, the fire has demolished at least four structures, with 12,000 more still at risk. The fire’s ferocity has hindered firefighters from establishing containment lines, underscoring the challenges posed by the unrelenting blaze.

Evacuation orders affecting roughly 28,000 residents in Oroville, Cherokee, Kelly Ridge, and Hurleton remain in effect, with State Water Project facilities also included in the evacuation mandates. Although evacuation warnings have been issued, urging residents to prepare for potential danger, several orders were recently downgraded to alerts, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the chaos.

Amid stifling triple-digit heat and gusty north winds fueling the fire’s rapid spread, officials have cautioned residents to remain vigilant. The prevailing weather conditions prompted KCRA 3 to issue an Alert Day for Tuesday, coinciding with a red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service, further heightening concerns about the wildfire’s unpredictable behavior.

In the face of this unfolding crisis, local authorities have designated shelters at Oroville Church of the Nazarene and Gridley Fairgrounds, while the Salvation Army has mobilized to support first responders and impacted individuals with meals and spiritual services. As the community grapples with the ever-evolving threat posed by the Thompson Fire, residents are urged to exercise caution and prepare for potential road closures and ongoing evacuation alerts.