A wildfire churning among mountain towns in Mendocino County in California mushroomed into the largest in the state on Friday, threatening 9,200 homes, as worn out firefighters battled gusting winds fanning multiple other blazes.
"With that being said, there's a high likelihood that the fire's going to back down into several communities today, and we're preparing for structure defense in Nice, Lucerne and Clearlake Oaks with engines in backyards", Blankenheim continued, explaining that Cal Fire was working with the Lake County Sheriff's Office overnight Friday to evacuate the affected residents.
As we wrote the other day, the Carr wildfire has now become the sixth most destructive on record in California, surpassing both of last year's Thomas and Nuns fires. Some areas on the fire's southeastern flank were reopened to residents.
Bulldozer operators and their machines build containment lines while battling the River fire in Lakeport, California on July 31. - Two firefighters were killed fighting the blaze and three people, a 70 year old woman and her two great-grandchildren age four and five, perished when their Redding home was rapidly swallowed up by flames.
Damage from the fire includes 41 residences destroyed, and 9,200 structures remain threatened, according to an update from Cal Fire.
Gov. Jerry Brown repeated predictions from fire officials that California can expect a future of devastating fires, in part because of climate change.
On Thursday, the National Weather Service said that, according to preliminary information, the winds of the column were moving at speeds of 143 miles per hour, classifying it as an EF-3 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which rates tornado intensity on a range of zero to five.
The blaze has killed two firefighters. Media personnel on scene said the fire was especially intense near Dessie Drive and Hendricks Road.
Dykema says the whirl started when hot air from the exceptionally hot fire rose and twisted tightly, creating a powerful tornado of flames and wind.
The heat of wildfires can sometimes create short-lived "fire whirls", and at first, experts were reluctant to call the Redding fire column a tornado.
Workers who live in Yosemite's popular Valley region were ordered to leave Friday because of inaccessible roads.
Another fire located 100 miles to the northeast has already seen six deaths with 41 percent of that blaze reportedly under control.
A new report says the first firefighter, a California bulldozer operator, almost slipped off a steep mountain trail three times before his vehicle finally rolled into a ravine and fatally crushed him.