Mendocino becomes largest of California's wildfires

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Twin wildfires fueled by dry vegetation and hot, windy weather continued to grow in Northern California, destroying 55 homes and forcing thousands of residents to flee their neighbourhoods. - Two firefighters were killed fighting the blaze and three people, a 70 year old woman and her two great-grandchildren age four and five, perished when their Redding home was rapidly swallowed up by flames.

The two blazes, known together as the Mendocino Complex fires, are in their sixth day.

The blaze in the Redding area, 225 miles (360 kilometers) north of San Francisco, is the largest of 18 wildfires burning throughout California. The Ferguson Fire burning near Yosemite National Park has burned 80,755 acres (126 square miles) and is 36 percent contained on Saturday.

The Carr Fire spawned a "fire whirl" of flames and winds in excess of 143 miles per hour (230 kph) on July 26 that had the strength of a severe tornado and uprooted trees and toppled power lines, according to a tweet by the National Weather Service.

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.

Alerts have been upgraded to Reg Flag Warnings by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection due to low humidity, gusty winds and high temperatures, Anadolu Agency reports. It is the 6th most destructive fire in California's history and has killed six people, destroyed 1,073 homes, and 506 other structures, and damaged 258 structures in total.

A Department of Forestry and Fire Protection preliminary report says each earlier slip alone qualified as a "near miss" warning that the century-old mining trail could collapse.

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As of Saturday morning, Cal Fire reported The Ranch Fire was 156,678 acres and 27-percent contained.

Adding that its estimates are, "Also based on historical comparisons to fires of similar size and magnitude in California, including the October and December 2017 fires in the state".

A 100-square mile fire near Yosemite National Park prompted evacuation orders on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) for the community of Wawona inside the park, which has fewer than 200 residents.

California fire officials said Saturday that the two fires about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of San Francisco were 27 percent contained and have grown to nearly 250 square miles (648 kilometers).

His assistant had gone to get a new hydraulic hose.

More than 13,000 firefighters are battling blazes statewide with the help of crews from as far away as Florida.

Varney was a 10-year veteran.

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