California's largest wildfire surges overnight

Sunday, 05 Aug, 2018

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.

A fire whirl spawned by the Carr Fire carried wind speeds equivalent to an EF-3 tornado, the National Weather Service said on Thursday.

He says fire whirls are common, but not at the intensity recorded on July 26. But given its strength and how it was formed, some are now calling it a "fire tornado".

North and east of San Francisco, two wildfires that began on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) near the communities of Covelo and Yuba City continued to burn through grass, brush and timberlands. But when two plumes broke through, that created an fast-moving updraft, conditions similar to those of tornado formation.

Inspecting the fire-damaged neighborhoods of Redding on Saturday, the governor also said California needs a statewide emergency alert system.

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

As a precaution, new evacuations were called Friday for an area of Mendocino and Lake counties where week-old twin fires have destroyed 41 homes and threaten about 9,000 more.

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Paulich says residents have been heeding evacuation orders because they have seen the destruction caused by past fires. Two people have been killed in the fire , but no homes have been damaged or destroyed, fire officials said.


The National Weather Service issued warnings for critical fire weather conditions into Saturday, saying a series of dry low-pressure systems passing through the region would bring afternoon gusts up to 35 miles per hour (56 kph).

The blaze in Mendocino County, about 90 miles (145 km) north of San Francisco, had spread to cover a total of 201,471 acres (81,500 hectares) by early Saturday, after increasing more than 25 percent in size from Friday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said.

The blaze has killed two firefighters.

Its size overtook the deadly Carr Fire, about 100 miles (160 km) to the northeast, which is among 17 major blazes burning in tinder-dry forests and woodland peppered with dead trees from the state's 2011-2017 drought.

Workers who live in Yosemite's popular Valley region were ordered to leave Friday because of inaccessible roads.

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.

Braden Varney, 36, was working alone overnight July 14 fighting the wildfire while his assistant went to get a new hydraulic hose.