Governor Brown Declares State Of Emergency For Ponderosa Fire

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday declared a state of emergency for the wildfire burning in Butte County as scorching temperatures complicate firefighters’ efforts to extinguish blazes.

The declaration came Friday afternoon as the Ponderosa Fire near Oroville spread to thousands of acres after destroying 20 homes and threatening 500 others.

It has also damaged power lines and closed roads north of Sacramento.

A day earlier, Brown declared a state of emergency for a wildfire in Trinity County.

Cal Fire said on its website that the fire near Oroville had consumed nearly 6 square miles (15 square kilometers) and was 30 percent contained.

The temperature in Oroville hit 108 degrees.

An evacuation warning has been issued for the community of Forbestown south of the southern fork of the Feather River, according to Cal Fire.

An evacuation order that had previously been issued for Berry Creek, Brush Creek and Mountain House was lifted Friday morning.

29-year-old Oroville resident John Ballenger was taken into custody on Tuesday on suspicion of causing the wildfire that has grown to over 3,100 acres as of Wednesday evening.

According to Cal Fire law enforcement, Ballenger is suspected of recklessly starting a campfire outside a designated campground and allowing it to get out of control. The fire was reported to Cal Fire’s emergency command center in Oroville at Tuesday afternoon at about 1:11 p.m.

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