Twin wildfires fueled by dry vegetation and hot, windy weather have continued to grow in Northern California. California fire officials said Monday that the two fires about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of San Francisco were 30 percent contained and have scorched 428 square miles (1,108 square kilometers).
The two fires are burning about 14 miles (22 kilometers) apart and have destroyed 75 homes. Another 9,000 buildings are threatened. The fires cover an area larger than a deadly wildfire burning near Redding, California.
That blaze has killed two firefighters and five civilians and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.
The wildfire started two weeks ago by sparks from the steel wheel of a towed-trailer’s flat tire. It is 45 percent contained.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday called on President Donald Trump to help California fight and recover from another devastating wildfire season.
Brown, who inspected neighborhoods wiped out by a wildfire in the Northern California city of Redding, said he was confident the president he has clashed with over immigration and pollution policies would send aid, which Trump did last year when California’s wine country was hit hard.
“The president has been pretty good on helping us in disasters, so I’m hopeful,” said Brown, a Democrat. “Tragedies bring people together.”
Brown’s call for help came shortly before authorities called on residents in Glenn and Colusa counties in Northern California to evacuate as a wildfire there continues to grow.
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. The blaze, known as the Mendocino Complex fire, has grown to 357 square miles and is 32 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.
The National Weather Service forecasts hot and windy conditions to persist in Northern California.
There are 17 major fires burning throughout California, authorities said. In all, they have destroyed hundreds of homes, killed eight people – including four firefighters- and shut down Yosemite National Park.
Hundreds of colleagues, family and friends attended a memorial service Saturday in Fresno for National Forest Service Capt. Brian Hughes, the Fresno Bee reported. Hughes was killed July 29 by a falling tree while fighting the wildfire that has closed Yosemite National Park at the height of tourist season.
The fire had reached into remote areas of the country’s third-oldest national park. Workers who live in Yosemite’s popular Valley region were ordered to leave Friday because of inaccessible roads.
It burned so furiously on July 26 that it created what is called a fire whirl. The twirling tower of flame reached speeds of 143 mph (230 kph), which rivaled some of the most destructive Midwest tornados, National Weather Service meteorologist Duane Dykema said. The whirl uprooted trees and tore roofs from homes, Dykema said.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the blaze had blackened nearly 206 square miles (533 square kilometers).
“Fire season is really just beginning,” Cal Fire chief Ken Pimlott said.
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