Deadly California blaze spawned destructive fire tornado

Mendocino Complex fires map

The fire flared up in the Lakeport area Tuesday, which kept officials from being able to allow residents there home, said fire public information officer Mike Wilson.

Gov. Jerry Brown at a press conference on August 1 warned that California may be in trouble if these mega fires continue to ravage the state.

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.

Meanwhile, at least three new fires erupted on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) in the Sierra Nevada region, including a blaze in Placer County that had consumed 1000 acres or 4 square kilometres of land.

A new mandatory evacuation order went out in Lake County late Friday morning for the Mendocino Complex Fire, according to authorities. Yosemite Valley and other areas of the park have been closed to tourists since July 25 because of heavy smoke from the fire, which has burned almost 64,000 acres (258 square kilometres) and is only 39 per cent contained. 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.

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Yosemite Valley and other areas of the park have been closed to tourists since July 25 because of heavy smoke from the fire, which has burned almost 100 square miles (259 square kilometers) and is only partially contained.

Western Lake County had its advisory upgraded to a mandatory evacuation for the area west of Lucerne at Bartlett Springs Road and Highway 20, south of the fire, east of the fire, north of Clear Lake including the communities of Blue Lakes, Upper Lake, Nice, Lakeport, Witter Springs, Bachelor Valley, Scotts Valley and Saratoga Springs, according to a Mendocino National Forest incident update.

Those figures, along with the fact that large fires are starting earlier in the year, has state officials anxious. While still mourning that loss, the Carr Fire stormed into the city.

"Prescribed burns alone will not stop that, but it is a tool that we can use to reduce the effect of those large fires", said Porter. Last year, Cal Fire came close, with 19,000 acres control-burned. "Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven't had this kind of heat condition, and it's going to continue getting worse".

Brown says he is hopeful Trump will issue a so-called Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for California.

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