Two people were found dead inside a burned vehicle in the path of the raging McKinney Fire in Northern California, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.
The bodies were found around 10 a.m. PT on Sunday by fire personnel battling the fire.
“The vehicle was located in a residential driveway along Doggett Creek Road, which is off of Highway 96, west of the Klamath River,” police said in a statement.
No information has been released about the victims’ identities.
The fire started after 2 p.m. on July 29 as firefighters responded to a newly reported wildfire in the Klamath National Forest.
The McKinney Fire has become the state’s largest wildfire so far this year. It has scorched over 55,493 acres and remains 0 percent contained as of Monday morning.
Triple-digit heat and erratic winds have created an extreme wildfire threat, officials said.
“The fuel beds are so dry and they can just erupt from that lightning,” U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Adrienne Freeman said. “These thunder cells come with gusty erratic winds that can blow fire in every direction.”
The National Weather Service issued “red flag warnings” on Sunday as the fire continued to burn near the California–Oregon border. Over 2 million people are under the warnings in parts of Northern California, central Oregon, eastern Washington, Montana, eastern Wyoming, western South Dakota, and northwestern Nebraska.
“Heat, instability, and increasing moisture along with multiple low-pressure impulses moving through this afternoon/evening and again Tuesday are expected to bring isolated to scattered thunderstorms and abundant lightning on dry fuels to the area,” the National Weather Service said Sunday.
Dry thunderstorms ignited several smaller fires throughout northern Siskiyou County and the Klamath National Forest, forest service officials said in a news update.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Saturday for Siskiyou County “due to the effects of the McKinney Fire, which has destroyed homes, threatened critical infrastructure, and forced the evacuation of almost 2,000 residents.”