Then came the Cranston fire south of Idyllwild and the deadly Carr fire in Redding.
Both fires actively burned through the night, with the Ranch Fire expanding rapidly eastward toward the site where the Pawnee Fire burned in Lake County in late June and early July, a Mendocino National Forest incident update said. But given its strength and how it was formed, some are now calling it a "fire tornado".
The two fires cover an area larger than the wildfire that damaged parts of Redding, California last week and killed two firefighters. But when two plumes broke through, that created an fast-moving updraft, conditions similar to those of tornado formation.
Aon's Impact Forecasting explained, "The July 2018 fires in California follow what was the costliest year ever recorded for the insurance industry with the wildfire peril in 2017". The Mendocino Complex has destroyed at least 55 homes, 47 other structures and threatens 12,300 buildings, Cal Fire reports.
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The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which uses acres to describe fire size, said the blaze had blackened almost 206 square miles.
These numbers are likely to rise further, given the Carr fire is still only 37% contained and the weather conditions will remain conducive to burns, making fighting the fire more hard. Fourteen homes and 24 other structures have been destroyed, and eight other homes have been damaged, according to Cal Fire.
The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings of critical fire weather conditions through Saturday night, "This is a particularly risky situation with extremely low humidity and high winds". "When the winds are strong enough and the fire is hot enough, sometimes, the rising air columns start to rotate".
The fire has 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.
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According to the numbers CAL FIRE released Wednesday morning, the two fires have burned 90,912 acres; 59,019 on the Ranch Fire, and 31,898 on the River Fire.
The 33-year-old was killed July 29 by a falling tree while battling a wildfire that has prompted the closure and evacuation of nearby Yosemite National Park.
His assistant had gone 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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