Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Fire whirl brings critical conditions in Northern California

Fire whirl brings critical conditions in Northern California

To the south, the River Fire grew to 44,793 acres and is 50 percent contained.

Those gusts were slowing efforts in the steep, rugged terrain to carve out buffer zones in front of the fire's leading edge, said Gabriel Lauderdale, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire).

The Carr Fire is 39 percent contained, but firefighters are reinforcing fire breaks to prevent strong, erratic winds from causing it to flare up again this weekend. Thousands of people remain evacuated.

The 11-day-old Carr Fire, which has scorched almost 127,000 acres (54,000 hectares) in the scenic Shasta-Trinity region north of Sacramento, remains the largest and most fearsome of 18 significant wildfires burning across California and more than 100 nationwide.

Dykema said the whirl uprooted trees and tore roofs from home.

The insurance and reinsurance industry loss from the Carr wildfire in Shasta County, California, is anticipated to at least approach and possibly surpass $1 billion, as the destruction continues with now more than 1,550 structures completely destroyed and another 258 damaged by the fire.

To the southwest of Redding, new evacuations were ordered late Thursday at the Mendocino Complex, where twin fires have ravaged a combined 250 square miles (621 square kilometers), destroyed 41 residences and threatened 9,200 homes. The forecast included extremely low humidity levels that leave vegetation ready to burn.

Wildfires typically create whirls but rarely of the strength of the one recorded July 26, Dykema said.

Two firefighters have been killed there since a fire erupted just west of Yosemite in the Sierra National Forest.

More than 13,000 firefighters are battling fires with the help of crews from as far away as Florida but Brown repeated predictions from fire officials that California can expect a future of devastating fires, in part because of the changing climate.

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. The fire had reached into remote areas of the country's third-oldest national park.

A Department of Forestry and Fire Protection preliminary report says each earlier slip alone qualified as a "near miss" warning that the century-old mining trail could collapse. Varney's radio wasn't communicating with headquarters, so his assistant relayed messages - until they lost contact.

Some evacuations were lifted Friday in an area near Redding, where armies of firefighters and fleets of aircraft have been battling an enormous blaze about 100 miles south of the OR line. The report called for better "risk assessment" among firefighters.

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