Fire Whirl In Carr Fire Equal To EF-3 Tornado

Mendocino Complex fires map

A wildfire spreading through mountain towns in Mendocino County in California has grown into the largest in the state, threatening 9,200 homes, as tired firefighters battle gusting winds fanning multiple other blazes.

That fire continues to burn about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the OR border as firefighters there and throughout Northern California brace for worsening conditions this weekend. Thousands of people remain evacuated. Firefighters were having some success keeping flames away from heavily populated areas, and officials began allowing some residents to return to their neighborhoods.

The fire has charred an area of the forested, rural area five times the size of San Francisco and is only 30 percent contained. The blaze has destroyed more than 1,500 structures, including the homes of three Redding firefighters, according to the GoFundMe site.

Gov. Jerry Brown was scheduled to visit the fire area in Shasta County on Saturday.

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

"The fire is still very active on top of Cow Mountain", he said, explaining that while dozer lines held on the west side of the mountain, they did not hold on the east side and the fire moved into Scotts Valley.

The wildfire has grown to 175 square miles (280 square kilometers) and is a few miles from connecting with a second blaze that has grown to 64 square miles (105 square kilometers).

The fire burned slowly for days before winds suddenly whipped it up last week and drove it furiously through brush and timber.

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.

Dykema said the whirl uprooted trees and tore roofs from home.

The blaze burned so furiously on July 26 that it created a "fire whirl".

Carol Smith and her family walked into their hillside neighborhood Thursday to find her home reduced to mangled metal and piles of bricks after a massive Northern California wildfire leveled more than 1,000 homes. The fire had reached into remote areas of the country's third-oldest national park.

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.

His assistant had gone to get a new hydraulic hose.

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