LOYALTON (CBS SF) — A wildfire raging near the eastern Sierra community of Loyalton grew to 2,300 acres Saturday and triggered a rare fire tornado warning from the National Weather Service.
The blaze — which was first reported on Friday afternoon — was being battled by 300 firefighters from local agencies and the U.S. Forest Service.READ MORE: COVID Surge: Mask Mandate Returns To Bay Area Businesses With No Limits On Capacity
One hour time lapse from the @AlertWildfire Babbit Peak webcam of the #LoyaltonFire and it’s rotating pyrocumulus plume which resulted in a tornado warning being issued for the possibility of a fire induced tornado. @NWSReno @USTornadoes @Weather_West #CAwx #severeweather pic.twitter.com/XikyZU5uZt
— US StormWatch (@GreatWinter2017) August 15, 2020
It was just 5 percent contained as it roared over a ridge and moved toward Highway 395. The Nevada Highway Patrol was detouring people off of 395 just north of Bordertown before the California border.
— Reno Mircoburst (@ZavalaLuke) August 15, 2020
Mandatory evacuations were underway in the Chilcoot area and Scott Rd south of Highway 70 east of the town of Loyalton and southwest of Mount Ina Coolbrith.
“Fire behavior is extreme, and a smoke column will be visible throughout the Sierra Valley and North Reno,” Forest Service officials said Saturday afternoon.READ MORE: Firefighters Battling 2-3 Acre Wildfire In Lake County
The behavior was so extreme that is was whipping up its own weather conditions. On Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a raw fire tornado warning.
“A pyrocumulonimbus from the Loyalton Fire is capable of producing a fire induced tornado and outflow winds in excess of 60 mph,” the weather service warned. “It was located south of Chilcoot and is nearly stationary. This is extremely dangerous for firefighters.”
— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) August 15, 2020
Tornado warning issued for the southwestern part of Lassen County, California. But this isn’t an ordinary storm…it’s a pryocumulonimbus cloud from the #LoyaltonFire! #CAwx @StormHour @spann @crystalegger pic.twitter.com/5lSJpFOetW
— Collin Gross (@CollinGrossWx) August 15, 2020
— Reno Mircoburst (@ZavalaLuke) August 15, 2020MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Shooting Shuts Down EB Highway 4 In Antioch