The wildfire began on Friday afternoon in the Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou County near the California-Oregon border, reports Xinhua news agency.
It has scorched over 52,000 acres (210.4 square km) with zero containment as of Sunday evening, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).
Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County due to the effects of the McKinney Fire and two additional fires in the area.
Henoted that the McKinney Fire, which had been intensified and spread by dry fuels, extreme drought conditions, high temperatures, winds and lightning storms, has destroyed homes, threatened critical infrastructure and forced the evacuation of almost 2,000 residents.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook that life-saving efforts, and protecting and patrolling evacuated areas will continue to be a priority for the agency and other assisting law enforcement agencies on Sunday night.
“All evacuation orders and warnings remain in place,” the agency said.
The McKinney Fire quickly overtook the Oak Fire that was burning in Mariposa County to be the largest wildfire of 2022 in the state.
CAL FIRE data showed that the Oak Fire has burned over 19,244 acres (77.9 square km) with 67 per cent containment and destroyed 190 structures as of Sunday.
Nearly half of Californians have said that the threat of wildfires is a big problem in their part of California, according to a statewide survey published on Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Many of the largest wildfires, including the top five, in California’s history have happened in the past few years amid severe drought.
“California continues to experience longer wildfire seasons as a direct result of climate change,” said CAL FIRE in its 2022 Fire Season Outlook, noting that “continued dry conditions, with above normal temperatures through spring, will leave fuel moisture levels lower than normal, increasing the potential for wildland fire activity”.