Fire whirl brings critical conditions in Northern California

05 August, 2018, 01:44 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Mendocino Complex Fire

This comes as the complex fire grows to a combined 157,250 acres, with at least 41homes destroyed, and 9,200 still threatened.

Much of the destruction was caused by a tornado of flames that the National Weather Service said reached 143 miles per hour (230 kph) on July 26. But given its strength and how it was formed, some are now calling it a "fire tornado". But when two plumes broke through, that created an fast-moving updraft, conditions similar to those of tornado formation.

The numbers are based on daily statistics provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and show how much land the fire has charred with each passing day.

NWS meteorologist Duane Dykema said the "fire whirl" had an intensity rivaled by some of the most destructive Midwest tornadoes recorded.

On Thursday evening, mandatory evacuation orders were issued for the communities of Spring Valley, Long Valley and High Valley, between Lucerne and Indian Valley Reservoir in Lake County.

"Unstable conditions, shifting winds, steep terrain and dry fuels continue to challenge firefighters", a state fire update warned, noting that 35-mph wind gusts were expected on ridgetops that could whip up the flames.

"This is a particularly risky situation with extremely low humidity and high winds".

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.

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Air tankers have been dropping fire retardant on two wildfires in Northern California to help try and stop them spreading any further.

Yosemite Valley residents must leave the valley by noon Friday, National Park Service officials said.

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.

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.

His assistant had gone to get a new hydraulic hose.

Varney was a 10-year veteran.

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 206-square-mile (533-square-kilometer) Carr Fire 100 miles south of the OR border was 39 percent contained after destroying 1,060 homes and many other structures.

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