Strong winds whipping up new threat as California wildfires continue to rage

Lamar Ellis
August 2, 2018

People missing in Shasta County's Carr Fire " Nobody in the fire service, no single agency can cover all the emergencies in their area.

Firefighters struggling to contain destructive Northern California wildfires found themselves facing a new blaze that erupted today and drove through a rural area near a national forest.

Six people have lost their lives in the blaze, which has consumed 95,000 acres of land and destroyed 657 homes.

Lakeport, north of San Francisco, is the county seat and a popular destination for bass anglers and boaters on the shores of Clear Lake. By Monday night, it was a ghost town.

A few miles away embers, ash and smoke swirled through vineyards where at least one home had gone up in flames. "Don't park the vehicle on dry campfires, no flame".

Gaston said she could not get to her brother's house because, with the fire approaching, sheriff's deputies had blocked the roads and then she herself had to evacuate. ( AFP ) A home burns as the River Fire moves through the area in Lakeport, California.

The 32-year-old Marine Corps veteran says he sent his wife and two daughters to safety Sunday along with three carloads of belongings.

"We're concerned with individuals that have no family", Bosenko said. He bought his three-bedroom house previous year using a loan from the Department of Veterans Affairs. "I hate saying those things (because) this thing has made me a liar so many times", he said. Evacuations have been lifted except for road closure areas.

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As of 7 a.m., 884 homes, four commercial structures and 348 outbuildings have been destroyed by the fire; while another 169 homes, 5 commercial structures and 51 outbuildings have been damaged.

Almost 1,000 dwellings and more than 400 other buildings were reduced to ruins in what state officials now rank as the seventh-most destructive wildfire in California history.

Some 12,000 firefighters were battling the blaze. The Mendocino Complex fires, consisting of the Ranch Fire and River Fire in Mendocino and Lake Counties, have scorched over 90,000 acres and are at least 24 percent contained. "The fire burned actively throughout the night". Firefighters keep an "out-of-county bag" handy for when the call comes to fight a major blaze, he said.

50,000 people have been forced from their homes, as 17 separate blazes ravage large parts of the U.S. state, causing destruction in its path. The area remains closed to residents as crews work to restore some of the infrastructure in the area.

Large areas of Lake County remain evacuated, as do sections of Mendo near Potter Valley, and between Potter and the Lake County line.

Temperatures will soar into the lower 100s in many places, Norman said, and whipping winds will be "wildly fluctuating as the fires generate their own localized wind".

"I told them to throw everything they care about in the back of the auto", said Lew, 45.

"Anything could happen anywhere". Being on the engine and going in, that was tough but it was a different type of tough when you get told to leave and you don't know anything, yeah, so it's different.

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