California's largest wildfire surges overnight

05 August, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Bulldozer operators and their machines build containment lines while battling the River fire in Lakeport California

After an already "extremely dynamic and expansive day" Friday in which the Ranch Fire grew by more than 41,000 acres, Cal Fire officials said they were preparing for even more growth Saturday.

The blaze burned so furiously on July 26 that it created a "fire whirl". But given its strength and how it was formed, some are now calling it a "fire tornado".

The containment of the Carr wildfire has been increasing steadily, but still the number of structures destroyed or damaged continues to rise. But when two plumes broke through, that created an fast-moving updraft, conditions similar to those of tornado formation.

California's current year-round fire season is producing more extreme and destructive blazes than in the past.

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A total of 450,000 acres have burned, a lot of them being consumed by the Carr Fire and the Ranch and River Fires in Northern California.

A wildfire spreading through mountain towns in Mendocino County in California has grown into the largest in the state, threatening 9,200 homes, as worn out firefighters battle gusting winds fanning multiple other blazes.

The National Weather Service has issued warnings for critical fire weather conditions Friday and Saturday as a series of dry low-pressure systems pass through the region, bringing gusts up to 35 miles per hour (56 kph) in the afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon winds pushed the two blazes that comprise the Mendocino Complex of Fires farther east, both spreading for at least a mile.

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Cal Fire said on August 3 that the Ranch Fire, which is burning northeast of Ukiah, had consumed about 115,250 acres since it started on July 27, with firefighters managing to contain about 28 percent of the blaze.

Yosemite Valley residents must leave the valley by noon Friday, National Park Service officials said.

A firefighter walks around a swimming pool sprayed by phos-chek fire retardant after an air tanker made a pass while fighting a wildfire near Lakeport, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018.

Alerts have been upgraded to Reg Flag Warnings by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection due to low humidity, gusty winds and high temperatures, Anadolu Agency reports. Six people, including two firefighters, have died in the past week. Varney's radio wasn't communicating with headquarters, so his assistant relayed messages - until they lost contact.

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Varney was a 10-year veteran. Six people, including two firefighters, have died and the fire has destroyed 1060 homes and almost 500 other buildings, including barns and warehouses, making it the sixth most destructive wildfire in California history, state fire officials said.

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