Evacuations orders in place due to massive Mendocino Complex Fires

Crews battling deadly California wildfire slowed by returning windsMore

Crews battling deadly California wildfire slowed by returning windsMore

The National Weather Service issued warnings for critical fire weather conditions into Saturday, saying a series of dry low-pressure systems passing through the region would bring afternoon gusts up to 35 miles per hour (56 kph).

Dykema said the whirl uprooted trees and tore roofs from home.

A tower of smoke pours from Cow Mountain as Burney, California firefighter Bob May keeps a watch on surrounding vegetation for spot fires during a wildfire off Scotts Valley Road, near Lakeport, Calif.

High temperatures, low humidity and afternoon winds along with low fuel moistures are aiding large fire growth, officials said. But officials say the twin fires threaten 9,000 buildings and some new evacuations were ordered over the weekend as the flames spread.

The two fires burning a few miles apart and known as the Mendocino Complex have scorched 428 square miles (1,108 square kilometers) since igniting July 27 about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of San Francisco, the state's firefighting agency said.

The fire in and around Redding has claimed six lives, including two firefighters, and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.

More residents were ordered to evacuate their homes this weekend as tired firefighters endured high temperatures and gusting winds.

It burned so furiously on July 26 that it created what is called a fire whirl. The hotter the fire, the faster the air rises and the tighter it twists until it takes off as a tornado.

Cal Fire issued the evacuation order Saturday night for people who live in several parts of the counties, including an area just east of the boundary of Mendocino National Forest.

Firefighters by Saturday morning had managed to contain 41 per cent of the Carr blaze and authorities were allowing some evacuees to return, Cal Fire said. In all, they have destroyed hundreds of homes, killed nine people - including four firefighters - and shut down Yosemite National Park.

At least three new fires broke out Wednesday in the Sierra Nevada region, including a blaze in Placer County that had consumed 1½ square miles of land.

CBN News' Heather Sells is in California covering the wildfires. And, while the cause of the Eel Fire is still under investigation, one source said it was due to a barbecue grill.

But LaBoa says its trajectory and the weather forecast prompted officials to evacuate the communities Friday out of an abundance of caution.

A spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, told SFGate she is unaware of any water shortages at the Carr or Mendocino Complex fires, the worst fire zones in the state. Varney's radio wasn't communicating with headquarters, so his assistant relayed messages - until they lost contact.

Adding that its estimates are, "Also based on historical comparisons to fires of similar size and magnitude in California, including the October and December 2017 fires in the state".

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