Northern California wildfires fires grow

Howard TerryAug 04, 2018

High temperatures, low humidity and afternoon winds along with low fuel moistures are aiding large fire growth, officials said.

California fire officials said Saturday that the two fires about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of San Francisco were 27 percent contained and have grown to nearly 250 square miles (648 kilometers).

Firefighters battling deadly and destructive blazes in Northern California faced worsening weather conditions on Friday.

The fire, which is almost twice the size of Sacramento, was only partially contained after more than a week.

The combined fires have prompted about 15,000 people to evacuate their homes.

"The sparks that shot out July 23 from that minor incident, California fire officials said, ignited what is now the sixth-most destructive wildfire in state history".

Fanned by erratic winds in fuel-choked, tinder-dry forests and scrub, the California blazes have torched 468,467 acres (189,580 hectares) so far this year, destroyed 1,823 homes and structures, and killed at least eight people.

Some evacuations were lifted Friday in an area near Redding, where armies of firefighters and fleets of aircraft have been battling an vast blaze about 100 miles south of the OR line. Firefighters were having some success keeping flames away from heavily populated areas, and officials began allowing some residents to return to their neighborhoods.

The Carr Fire is 39 percent contained after killing six people and incinerating 1,067 homes.

"We're being surprised. Every year is teaching the fire authorities new lessons", Governor Jerry Brown told reporters.

The fire burned slowly for days before winds suddenly whipped it up last week and drove it furiously through brush and timber.

A fire whirl - similar to a tornado - that occurred in the Carr Fire near Redding on July 26 had maximum winds in excess of 143 miles per hour, according to an initial analysis by the National Weather Service and Calfire.

In Sierra Nevada, firefighters achieved 41 percent containment of a 115-square-mile (298-square-kilometer) forest fire that has shut down Yosemite Valley and other adjacent portions of Yosemite National Park at what is normally the height of summer tourism.

The National Park Service said Yosemite Valley is not threatened by the fire as of Friday at noon.

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

Additionally, there was a mandatory evacuation issued for Yosemite Valley. "They've killed, they're killers", said McLean.

According to the numbers CAL FIRE released Wednesday morning, the two fires have burned 90,912 acres; 59,019 on the Ranch Fire, and 31,898 on the River Fire. But two years ago, only 13,000 acres were burned while the previous three years each saw only around 3,000 acres burned.

Caltrans says to drive with extra caution if you do take this route, as fire crews are still working in the area.

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