California wildfires: Death toll to 7 as rapid spread continues

California wildfires: Death toll to 7 as rapid spread continues

In his request to President Donald Trump, Brown said the Carr Fire ranked as California's sixth most destructive, having destroyed more than 131,000 acres at the time of writing.

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. If it is considered a tornado, this destructive whirl would be the most powerful in California's history.

Dykema said the whirl uprooted trees and tore roofs from home. A Red Flag Warning is in effect in Lake County from 11 a.m. Friday until 11 p.m. Saturday due to gusty winds and low humidity in fire weather zones.

Sheriffs said all three men were arrested for interfering with Firefighters During a Fire Operation and Unauthorized Person in an Evacuation Area and released with a citation.

However, some days-old evacuations were lifted Friday in an area near Redding, where armies of firefighters and fleets of aircraft continue battling an vast blaze about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the OR line.

The 206-square-mile (533-square-kilometer) Carr Fire 100 miles south of the OR border is 39 percent contained after destroying 1,060 homes and many other structures. In all, they have destroyed hundreds of homes, killed eight people and shut down Yosemite National Park.

At the peak of the fires more than 55,000 people were evacuated from their homes, Brown wrote.

Hotter weather attributed to climate change is drying out vegetation, creating more intense fires that spread quickly from rural areas to city subdivisions, climate and fire experts say. "When the winds are strong enough and the fire is hot enough, sometimes, the rising air columns start to rotate".

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To the southwest of Redding, new evacuations were ordered late Thursday at the Mendocino Complex, where twin fires have ravaged a combined 250 square miles (621 square kilometers), destroyed 41 residences and threatened 9,200 homes.

The Mendocino Complex wildfires in northern California have expanded to more than two-thirds the size of sprawling Los Angeles, officials say. That fire had already killed six people, including a great-grandmother and two children. But she said trajectory and the weather forecast prompted officials to evacuate the communities Friday out of an abundance of caution. Workers who live in Yosemite's popular Valley region were ordered to leave Friday because of inaccessible roads.

More immediately, the declaration will enable federal agencies to help battle the 17 major fires burning throughout the state.

CBN News' Heather Sells is in California covering the wildfires.

More than 14,000 firefighters are battling over a dozen major blazes throughout California, state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott McLean said. They have grown to nearly 250 square miles (648 kilometers).

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

The report called for better "risk assessment" among firefighters.

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