Active-Duty Army Engineers Being Sent to Fight California Wildfires
07 August, 2018, 11:36 | Author: Edward Snyder
Another fire, the almost two-week-old Carr Fire, claimed another life on Saturday, a 21-year-old apprentice lineman, Jay Ayeta, officials with PG&E Corp said on Sunday.
Firefighters normally expect to count on wildfires "laying down" at night as the temperature sinks, allowing night shift personnel to "go direct" in constructing fire lines very close to the edge of the fires. But officials say the twin fires threaten 11,300 buildings and some new evacuations were ordered over the weekend as the flames spread.
At least three states have mobilized National Guard troops to help, and five military aircraft are assisting. However, the River Fire remained at 47,663 acres and 50-percent containment.
The record for the largest wildfire in California history fell on Monday after just eight months as the Mendocino Complex Fire passed the Thomas Fire, from last December, to set the new mark for most acres burned.
The Thomas Fire killed two people, burned 440 square miles, and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings in Southern California before being fully contained January 12.
One of the wildfires, the "Carr fire" near Redding, California, on the Sacramento River about 120 miles south of the OR border, has claimed seven lives, destroyed more than 1,000 homes and scarred more than 163,200 acres, according to CAL FIRE. The two fires, which have threatened more than 9,000 structures, have not merged, but officials are counting them as one.
Ayeta is the seventh person to die in the enormous blaze that has been burning for two weeks near Redding, where armies of firefighters and fleets of aircraft continue battling the flames about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the OR state line.
The wildfire started two weeks ago by sparks from the steel wheel of a towed-trailer's flat tire.
As of Monday, the Carr Fire had consumed 163,207 acres and was 45 percent contained.
For information on evacuations and fire conditions for the two fires making up the Mendocino Complex, head here for the Ranch Fire and here for the River Fire.
"This year's changing weather pattern is leading to more severe and destructive wildfires".
"The big fires have scores of water-dropping helicopters getting water from nearby lakes and reservoirs", he said. And parts of Colusa, Lake, and Mendocino counties have been evacuated.
"California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren't allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized", he tweeted Sunday.
Another blaze that ignited last week has damaged a historic Northern California resort in the Stanislaus National Forest. The complex is now only a couple thousand acres shy of becoming the largest in state history, and it has done so in a remarkably brief period.
The Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park has killed two and has charred about 91,000 acres.
Meanwhile, firefighters are battling more than a dozen other major fires amid California's hot and dry weather. The Ranch Fire, which has burned over 225,000 acres, sit at only 21 percent contained.
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