GRIZZLY FLATS, Calif. -- Wildfires raging across northern California once again claimed a series of homes as dry winds continued to fuel what's shaping up to be the worst wildfire season on record.
A grass fire driven by 30 mph winds tore through dozens of mobile homes in Lake County Wednesday, leaving one person injured and two blocks of devastation, according to the Associated Press. Children were seen being rushed out of an elementary school as a field across the street burned.
Overall, officials ordered 1,600 people to flee the flames in Lake County.
The blaze was part of a dozen uncontrolled wildfires in Northern California, including the Dixie Fire which has burned over 660,000 acres, and the Caldor Fire that has destroyed much of the towns of Grizzly Flats and Greenville. At least 16,000 homes remain threatened by flames.
"This is not going to end anytime soon," Thom Porter, chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the Associated Press of the Dixie Fire. "Everybody's going to be sucking smoke for a long time."
The Dixie Fire remains only about 35% contained and has so far scorched more than 1,000 square miles. It remains the second-largest wildfire on record in California. California's wildfires are on pace to exceed the amount of land burned last year — the most in modern history, according to the AP.
Meanwhile, crews are scrambling to protect the towns of Susanville and Pollock Pines which are threatened by the fast-moving Caldor Fire.
Chris Sheean told the Associated Press the dream home he bought six weeks ago near the elementary school went up in smoke. He felt lucky he and his wife, cats and dog got out safely hours before the flames arrived.
"It's devastation. You know, there's really no way to explain the feeling, the loss," Sheean told the AP. "Maybe next to losing a child, a baby, maybe. … Everything that we owned, everything that we've built is gone."
The strong winds that had spread the fires Wednesday are calming into the end of the week and the weekend though Fire Weather Warnings remain in effect across much of Northern California into late Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.