Mendocino Complex Fire now state's 6th largest wildfire; more evacuation orders issued

06 August, 2018, 02:28 | Author: Carlos George
  • Credit Cox for Governor John Cox meets with Rep. Doug La Malfa and Anderson Police Chief Michael Johnson

A utility worker was killed near a Northern California wildfire as crews working in sweltering conditions battled multiple blazes, including twin fires that exploded in size and forced hundreds more to evacuate rural communities, officials said Sunday.

The Mendocino Complex fires have swelled to become larger than the deadly Carr Fire, about 160 km to the northeast, which has killed at least six people and destroyed more than 1,500 structures. By late Saturday those fires covered 229,000 acres -more than two-thirds the size of the city of Los Angeles, and were considered 32 percent contained, according to Reuters. "Firefighters will continue to face local gusty winds and building heat this week".

President Trump has declared that a major disaster exists in California, paving the way for federal money and aid.

Southeast of Redding, a blaze moved deeper into the Mendocino National Forest, "an area with some hunting cabins and some private property but no towns", Lake County Sheriff Lt. Corey Paulich said. The forecast included extremely low humidity levels that leave vegetation ready to burn. And it all started with a flat tire.

On the evening of July 26, California's Carr fire, one of the most destructive fires in the state's history, was burning in Redding, when conditions aligned to create a massive whirl of smoke and fire.

The global fire teams from Australia and New Zealand will arrive in Redding on Monday, Pimlott said. Thousands of people remain evacuated.

The Carr Fire is 39-percent contained, but firefighters are widening fire breaks to prevent winds from causing it to flare up again.

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Two blazes collectively called the Mendocino Complex burned in Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties, about 145km north of San Francisco.

The scorched land figure is expected to rise when the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) issues an update on Saturday night, spokeswoman Tricia Austin said.

However, some days-old evacuations were lifted Friday in an area near Redding, where armies of firefighters and fleets of aircraft have been battling an huge blaze about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the OR line. CAL FIRE announced these areas can return: North Lakeport; north of the Scotts Valley Road and Hill Road intersection, east of Hill Road, south of Nice-Lucerne Cutoff Road, and west of Clear Lake.

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. The whirl uprooted trees and tore roofs from homes, Dykema said.

Braden Varney, 36, was working alone overnight July 14 fighting the wildfire while his assistant went to get a new hydraulic hose.

The report says the death of the 10-year veteran highlights the need for better risk assessment, communication and supervision.

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