A fast-moving wildfire ripping through the small Northern California town of Weed has destroyed more than 150 homes, churches and structures, injured three and charred 375 acres, Cal Fire crews said.
As of Wednesday night, the devastating Boles Fire along Siskiyou County's Boles Creek was 60 percent contained. Cal Fire officials said any information as to the cause of the fire could be worth a $10,000 reward.
Evacuation orders were still in place, and residents were asked to temporarily find shelter at the Mt. Shasta Armory. Highway 97 also remained closed.
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Mary Niblock was one of the nearly 3,000 people forced to flee. Despite the major loss, she was thankful to the almost 970 fire personnel were battling the fire, which was reported on Monday. Firefighters received a standing ovation Tuesday night during a community meeting.
"There aren't enough brownies in the world," she told NBC Bay Area. "You can't thank them enough. They saved the town."
Much of the town, however, suffered major damage. That includes many homes, a Catholic Church and the Grace Community Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and part of the elementary and high schools. Their scorched remains were reduced to gray ash and rubble. Burned out vans, cars, stoves and other residential belongings were littered throughout residential neighborhoods.
Much of the challenge to fighting the fire was due to the weather, including gusting winds and low humidity. Winds gusting at up to 40 mph were pushing the flames toward the city of Weed, which sits at the base of Mount Shasta, halfway between San Francisco and Portland.
The city is known for its funny jokes about "weed" and more historically, as a lumber town.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.