SACRAMENTO (CNN) — Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in two counties in the north of the state where wildfires have torched tens of thousands of acres, destroying some homes and threatening others.
Thousands of firefighters have been deployed to try to tame the blazes in the counties of El Dorado and Siskiyou.
The King Fire is raging in the El Dorado National Forest east of Sacramento. It has so far burned nearly 28,000 acres and is only 5 percent contained, Cal Fire said late Wednesday.
“This thing is just out of control at this point,” said CNN International Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera.
The fire is threatening more than 2,000 homes, Cal Fire said, with mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders in place across large areas of El Dorado County.
Farther north in Siskiyou County, near the border with Oregon, a smaller fire has already caused severe damage to property.
The Boles Fire tore into the town of Weed this week, razing libraries, fitness centers and entire neighborhood blocks, according to CNN affiliate KDRV.
The blaze has destroyed at least 150 structures, according to Cal Fire, and crews are still assessing the scale of the damage.
Images from the scene showed charred vehicles and patches of rubble where houses once stood.
The fire, which covers 375 acres, is now 60 percent contained, but evacuation orders remain in effect for some areas, Cal Fire said late Wednesday.
Authorities say they want to allow people to return to their properties as soon as they can, but only when it’s safe to do so.
“At some point we’re going to have to remove this debris,” local fire official Koby Johns told KDRV. “And before that, we need to, one, make sure there’s nobody here. And two, make sure there’s nothing that’s going to fall and injure a firefighter.”
Announcing a state of emergency in El Dorado and Siskiyou, California Gov. Jerry Brown said, “The wildfires in Northern California serve as a reminder that dry conditions can be the precursor to devastating loss.”
Authorities have said California’s ongoing historic drought has helped fuel fires that have plagued areas across the state.
The causes of the King and Boles fires are still under investigation.