California firefighters overtaken by flames, deploy mobile shelters

Firefighters forced to deploy mobile fire shelters as flames overtake them at the #BeaverFire

Three firefighters in Northern California had to deploy their mobile fire shelters Monday after they were overtaken by flames fueled by a rapid wind shift, authorities said.

The firefighters, who did not suffer serious injuries, were examined and released at the scene following their close call while battling the massive Beaver fire near the Klamath River, according the U.S. Forest Service.

The crew became trapped about 5:30 p.m. after an "outflow of winds" from a thunderstorm east of the 28,523-acre fire overtook them, officials reported.

After deploying their fire shelters, they were evacuated and taken to Yreka.

Firefighters were withdrawn from the firelines for the approaching thunderstorm, which the U.S. Forest Service said produced 30 to 35 mph winds and "caused extreme fire behavior."

At one point, fire officials said the length of the flames "extended into a canopy of trees." The dry vegetation has been "extremely receptive" to fire due to the ongoing drought, they added.

The National Weather Service reported that hail and thunderstorms that battered the region Monday were expected to clear out of the area on Tuesday.

Firefighters planned to continue with structure protection efforts Tuesday and scout out a line in front of the active fire.

More than 1,400 firefighters are battling the blaze, which is 30% contained after being sparked by lightning July 30 in the Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou County.

Residents in the Brown Bear and Horse, Middle and Kohl creeks were still under mandatory evacuation.

A community meeting was scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Klamath River Community Hall.

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