Air Tanker Deployed to Contain Devastating Mendocino Complex Wildfires

Posted August 05, 2018

KRCR, a local Redding station, is holding a fundraiser for Carr Fire survivors and victims.

With the peak of the fire season yet to come, it puts California on track for its most destructive fire year in over a decade, in terms of area burned, said Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean.

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".

That fire continues to burn about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the OR border as firefighters there and throughout Northern California brace for worsening conditions this weekend. But when two plumes broke through, that created an fast-moving updraft, conditions similar to those of tornado formation. If it is considered a tornado, this destructive whirl would be the most powerful in California's history.

Forecasters said the highest threat areas included the so-called Carr Fire near the city of Redding and the Mendocino Complex of two fires north of San Francisco.

Another fire located 100 miles to the northeast has already seen six deaths with 41 percent of that blaze reportedly under control. The fire has destroyed more than 1,000 structures and damaged almost 200 others. "We are routinely now seeing fires reach 100,000 acres several times in one month and it's only July, so we have a long way to go in this fire season, and as we saw a year ago fire season can go right up through December".

Strong winds whipping up new threat as California wildfires continue to rage
Four people were missing in the fire zone as 16 people listed as missing turned up safe, a Redding police official said. The state spent more than $114 million fighting fires in July, the first month of California's fiscal year.

Lauderdale said 24,285 residents remained displaced as of Thursday morning - down from a peak of 38,000 - but the number was dwindling as more residents were allowed to return.

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

The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings of critical fire weather conditions through Saturday night, saying a series of dry low-pressure systems passing through the region could bring wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour (56 kph) that could turn small fires or even sparks into racing walls of flames. The northern third of the park remains open.

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

More than 13,000 firefighters are battling blazes statewide with the help of crews from as far away as Florida.

Each earlier slip alone qualified as a "near miss" warning that the century-old mining trail could collapse, according to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's preliminary report. Varney's radio wasn't communicating with headquarters, so his assistant relayed messages - until they lost contact. The report called for better "risk assessment" among firefighters.

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