Fast-moving fire blocks Highway 299 in Shasta County, burning through Whiskeytown area

Carr Fire burns through Shasta County

The Carr Fire forced the community of French Gulch to evacuate, Cal Fire said.
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The Carr Fire forced the community of French Gulch to evacuate, Cal Fire said.

Cal Fire and National Park Service firefighters are battling an active and aggressive blaze in Shasta County that broke out Monday afternoon, growing to at least 2,500 acres by Tuesday morning.

The Carr Fire, which started near Highway 299 and Carr Powerhouse Road, is burning through Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.

The fire was 5 percent contained as of Tuesday morning, Cal Fire reported. Structures in the town of French Gulch are threatened by the fire, and the entire town has been under a mandatory evacuation order, Cal Fire said.

The evacuation center is Weaverville Elementary School at 129 S. Main St. in Weaverville.

The state has secured a fire management assistance grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to aid containment of the Carr Fire, the state Office of Emergency Services tweeted Monday night.

Highway 299 is currently closed in both directions from Oak Bottom to the east side of Carr Powerhouse Road, Caltrans said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Cal Fire spokeswoman Cheryl Buliavac said a trailer is possibly involved.

She said the fire is sweeping through steep, difficult-to-access terrain north of 299, which is a “huge challenge” for firefighters who are devoting extensive air and ground resources to battling the flames.

“We’re seeing fire behavior that we don’t typically see until much later in the season,” Buliavac said. The extremely hot and dry conditions are causing vegetation to burn much easier, she added.