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September 24, 2022

2 found dead in burned vehicle as McKinney Fire rages in Northern California

Two people were found dead in a burned-out vehicle by firefighters battling California’s largest wildfire, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

The identities of the people found in a driveway in the path of the McKinney Fire were not released, pending notification of next of kin, the sheriff’s office said.

Flames burn to the Klamath River during the McKinney Fire in the Klamath National Forest northwest of Yreka, California, on July 31, 2022. David McNew / AFP – Getty Images

The McKinney Fire, which began burning Friday afternoon in Klamath National Forest not far from the California-Oregon border, quickly grew and by Monday morning was at nearly 55,500 acres.

Some structures have been destroyed, but fire officials have not been able to complete assessments and the number lost is unknown, according to the U.S. Forest Service. More than 4,000 structures are threatened.

There are two main fires burning in the area — the McKinney Fire, and the almost 2,000-acre China 2 Fire to the west. That smaller fire was caused by lightning, buy the cause of the McKinney fire is not known, officials said. Both started Friday.

The fires have forced the evacuation of almost 2,000 people, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said Saturday. Newsom declared an emergency for Siskiyou County. The declaration allows for some federal aid and state resources.

The McKinney Fire is the largest wildfire in the state, passing the Oak Fire in Mariposa County, which was at 19,244 acres and 72 percent contained.

At least 124 homes have been destroyed by the Oak Fire, which began July 22, according to officials.

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

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