UKIAH, Calif. — Four firefighters were critically hurt Tuesday while battling a tricky new fire burning out of control over more than 75 acres in Lake County, authorities reported.
Conflicting reports said as many as six men might have been trapped by a spur of fire that "hooked around" and roared back on the group, said California Department of Forestry spokesman Jim Anderson.
The men jumped into portable shelters, fire resistant pup tents with reflective material, Anderson said.
The men were airlifted to the Chico Community Hospital burn center from the fire scene, about 15 miles northwest of Clear Lake, by Coast Guard helicopters, the hospital reported, stating that four men were in critical condition.
The fire, latest of the disastrous blazes that have scorched about 650,000 acres of California timberland since Aug. 28, started Monday in heavy brush and timber near the State Game Refuge south of Mendocino National Forest.
Anderson said there was no immediate explanation as to the cause of the blaze, adding that lightning--responsible for the hundreds of fires that started in August--was not a factor.