Mendocino becomes largest of California's wildfires

05 August, 2018, 01:46 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Firefighters battle the Ranch Fire near Upper Lake California

A wildfire churning among mountain towns in Mendocino County in California mushroomed into the largest in the state on Friday, threatening 9,200 homes, as tired firefighters battled gusting winds fanning multiple other blazes. The latest evacuation orders for Shasta County's Carr Fire, Mendocino County's Complex Fire People in the area have been advised to leave immediately.

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.

But tens of thousands of others were still under evacuation orders. Firefighters were having some success keeping flames away from heavily populated areas, and officials began allowing some residents to return to their neighborhoods.

As for the River Fire to the south, Blankenheim said firefighters "had really good progress" tying in containment lines in an effort to protect Scotts Valley and keep the fire from jumping Scotts Valley Road.

Stoked by drought-parched vegetation and triple-digit temperatures, the Carr Fire has killed six people, destroyed 1,567 homes and other structures and blackened 131,896 acres.

The blaze has killed two firefighters.

As these fires grow in frequency and severity, the state's cost to fight them is also increasing - dramatically.

California fire officials said Saturday that the two fires about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north grew to nearly 250 square miles (648 kilometers).


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

The blaze burned so furiously on July 26 that it created a "fire whirl".

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

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.

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.

As of Friday morning, CalFire reported that the Ranch Fire was at 112,226 acres and 28 percent containment and the River Fire at 41,512 acres and 50 percent containment.

His assistant had gone to get a new hydraulic hose. The report called for better "risk assessment" among firefighters.

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