Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

California's desolating Carr Fire was started by a flat tire

California's desolating Carr Fire was started by a flat tire

The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings of critical fire weather conditions through Saturday night, saying a series of dry low-pressure systems passing through the region could bring wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour that could turn small fires or sparks into racing walls of flame.

The "firenado" also left behind damage that looked more like the work of a tornado than a wildfire-tiles stripped from roofs, trees uprooted, cars moved, a transmission tower tipped over.

Dykema said the whirl measured a 3 on the five-level Enhanced Fujita scale, which scientists use to classify the strength of tornados. MAPS: Wildfires burning across California.

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. The two blazes were named as the Mendocino Complex Fire and are threatening 12,200 structures. Two recent examples are the Carr Fire that's destroyed more than 1,000 homes in and near Redding - it's already the sixth-most destructive in state history - and the Ferguson Fire that forced the closure of part of Yosemite National Park in late July, at the height of tourist season. New mandatory evacuation orders were issued Fiday for residents living near the Mendocino Complex Fires.

He says fire whirls are common, but not at the intensity recorded on July 26.

A firenado is a spinning vortex column of ascending hot air and gases that rises from a fire and carries smoke, debris and flame aloft, according to the Bureau of Land Management's Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology.

As a precaution, new evacuations were called Friday for an area of Mendocino and Lake counties where week-old twin fires have destroyed 41 homes and threaten about 9,000 more.

One of the fires rapidly expanded overnight.

Firefighters have managed to contain 41 percent of that blaze and authorities are allowing some people who had evacuated to return, Cal Fire said.

Hughes was National Park Service fire captain and the leader of an elite "hotshot" crew responsible for fighting fires in rugged terrain.

"To the northeast, Blankenheim said the fire had "some explosive growth" Friday, making another seven to eight-mile run up to the top of Indian Valley Reservoir", explaining that firefighters had eight bulldozers out Friday trying to build lines near Stonyford and hold the fire there, though the fire did "cross a dozer line (Friday) night and continued to spread".

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials said that fire was started two weeks ago by sparks from the steel wheel of a towed-trailer's flat tire.

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