New Mandatory Evacuation Ordered In Lake County

A California Wildfire Whirled Into a 'Fire Tornado'

Fire Whirl in Carr Fire Reached 143 MPH

Fire crews from Australia and New Zealand are heading to California to aid in the massive battle against wildfires, according to Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott.

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

An air tanker drops fire retardent to try to contain flames from the Carr fire as it spreads towards the town of Lewiston near Redding, California, on August 2, 2018.

"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.

Crews battling deadly California wildfire slowed by returning winds
The Carr Fire had grown into the 6th most destructive fire in state history surpassing the 2017 Nuns Fire in Sonoma County. Meanwhile, 32,000 residents are still evacuated from the fires and more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed.

As of Saturday morning, Cal Fire reported The Ranch Fire was 156,678 acres and 27-percent contained.

More immediately, the declaration will enable federal agencies to help battle the 17 major fires burning throughout the state. Thousands of people remain evacuated.

Firefighters were extremely busy Tuesday in that wildland-urban interface as the fire raced through the populated areas. The Ferguson Fire burning near Yosemite National Park has burned 80,755 acres (126 square miles) and is 36 percent contained on Saturday. Fire officials said another 8,000 homes and other buildings were threatened - down from about 12,000 homes initially threatened as firefighters made progress in some areas even as the blaze expanded in others.

A 100-square-mile (259-square-kilometer) fire near Yosemite National Park prompted evacuation orders for the community of Wawona inside the park, which has fewer than 200 residents. Combined containment was 30 percent early Friday. "From that spark, the so-called Carr Fire claimed the lives of six people and destroyed more than 1,500 structures, 1,000 of which were homes".

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"I expect to see that Ranch Fire continue to grow, and just surpass on its own the Carr Fire", said Mr McLean.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service said that, according to preliminary information, the winds of the column were moving at speeds of 143 miles per hour, classifying it as an EF-3 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which rates tornado intensity on a range of zero to five.

Eleven days later, it's killed six people and had scorched almost 127,000 acres by Thursday night - bigger than the size of Denver.

On Thursday, a special contingent of 100 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand took off from Sydney en route to USA assignments reinforcing exhausted fire crews in northern California, Oregon and Washington state. Varney's radio wasn't communicating with headquarters, so his assistant relayed messages - until they lost contact. The whirl uprooted trees and tore roofs from homes, Dykema said.

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It added that the US' "aggressive attitude serves no goal ", and vowed that it would respond in equal measure. Treasury Department's decision, calling on the U.S. administration to reverse its "wrong decision".

Varney was a 10-year veteran.

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