Fires burning across 83,000 acres throughout Modoc County have forced 150 people to evacuate and drawn an emergency declaration from Gov. Jerry Brown.
The Modoc July Complex fires, sparked by lightning July 24, was the most active Friday at the 45,728-acre Steele fire, which advanced through the juniper and brush just south of the Oregon border between Clear Lake Reservoir and Goose Lake.
The Cove fire near Adin, 67 miles north of Susanville, grew to 30,887 acres, said Kathy Arnoldus, a Modoc fire information officer.
Modoc County officials lifted a mandatory evacuation notice but advised residents of a rural community near Highway 299 to be prepared to leave if the fire direction changes.
In another of Northern California's eight separate fires, Quincy residents braced for more choking smoke that has enveloped the area since Saturday, when the Minerva fire started in a heavily timbered area 3 miles to the south of the Plumas County seat.
County public health officials extended an air-quality advisory to Monday as smoke intensified from backfires, set by firefighters in an effort to consume the fuels in the path of advancing flames.
A firefighter injured Friday morning was conscious and alert when he was taken by helicopter to a hospital for evaluation, said Sheryl Shipman, a Minerva fire information officer.
Smoke from the fire has limited the use of helicopters and other aircraft, but more than 90 engines from throughout California are in the area to fight the flames and protect structures, Shipman said.
The Minerva fire grew to 2,304 acres Friday and is not expected to be contained until Aug. 12.
Officials estimate they will contain the Modoc July Complex fires by July 16. Firefighters are working to extinguish small fires started by sparks from the primary blazes. Winds are a big factor as flames spread quickly in the extremely hot, dry conditions, said Arnoldus.
“We are focusing on catching the perimeters,” she said.
No structures have been reported destroyed in the Modoc fires.