California wildfires scorch an area the size of Los Angeles, with high winds expected to spread the flames

Sixteen of the largest wildfires burning in California have scorched 320,000 acres, authorities said Wednesd...

Posted: Aug 2, 2018 10:44 AM
Updated: Aug 2, 2018 10:44 AM

Sixteen of the largest wildfires burning in California have scorched 320,000 acres, authorities said Wednesday -- an area larger than the entire city of Los Angeles.

The Carr Fire, which has burned 121,000 acres and left six people dead, is now considered the sixth most destructive fire in California history, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire.

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Forecasters said winds could be stronger Wednesday, around 20 mph to 30 mph, and high temperatures and low humidity don't bode well for containing the blazes.

"California can expect to see hot, dry and breezy conditions through the end of the week," CNN meteorologist Gene Norman said.

Temperatures will soar into the lower 100s in many places, Norman said, and whipping winds will be "wildly fluctuating as the fires generate their own localized wind."

Here's a look at some of the most dangerous wildfires burning in the state now:

Carr Fire's destruction is 'like an atomic bomb'

Six people have died in this blaze, including three members of the same family.

The Carr Fire was 35% contained early Wednesday, Cal Fire said.

The fire was still active in certain spots in the afternoon, but was not running toward communities, Cal Fire's Steve Moore said.

Incident Commander Brett Gouvea said weather was helping.

"We are starting to see more successes than losses on this fire," Gouvea said.

Redding police said everyone reported missing in Shasta County had been found. The Shasta County Sheriff's Office said it took 60 missing persons reports in the early days of the fire.

Josh Lister and his family lost their home and belongings after the fire swept through Redding, a city of almost 100,000 people.

"It was a firestorm when we left," Lister said.

Afterward, he was stunned to see the devastation in his neighborhood.

"It looked like an atomic bomb went off," he said.

The Redding Police Department has made "many, many arrests" in connection with looting, Chief Roger Moore said Wednesday. Seventeen burglaries have been reported in evacuated neighborhoods.

The Carr Fire is so large and intense that it created its own localized weather system, making it difficult to predict which way the blaze will spread.

More than 4,000 fire personnel are battling the flames, but triple-digit heat, shifting winds, dry fuel and steep terrain are working against them, officials said. Roughly 15,000 residents have been evacuated.

The flames were sparked July 23 by the mechanical failure of a vehicle, Cal Fire said. Since then, it has destroyed more than 1,018 homes.

Highway 299 remains closed in fire-affected areas as crews clear debris.

Relief crews came from other areas to Redding on Wednesday so firefighters could be together and grieve the death of colleague Jeremy Stoke, Chief Cullen Kreider said.

Ferguson Fire kills 2 people

After 20 days of destruction, the Ferguson Fire in central California was only 39% contained as of Wednesday.

Two people have been killed in the fire, but no houses have been damaged or destroyed, fire officials said -- although about 2,800 structures are threatened.

A huge problem facing firefighters is that the flames are largely burning in steep, inaccessible terrain.

Unlike the Carr Fire, authorities don't know what started the Ferguson Fire, which has now engulfed nearly 63,000 acres.

Mendocino Complex

The Ranch and River fires, collectively called the Mendocino Complex, are blazing in and near the southeast corner of the Mendocino National Forest, northwest of Sacramento. Together the fires have burned nearly 95,000 acres and are 24% contained.

As many as 14,600 residents have been evacuated, fire officials said, and more than 12,000 structures are threatened.

Wildfires 'we have historically never seen' before

In the past several days, smoke from the California wildfires has stretched all the way to Oklahoma.

And California has already spent a quarter of its firefighting budget for the year in the month of July.

Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox said the intensity of this summer's wildfires is historic.

"What we're seeing in California right now is more destructive, larger fires burning at rates that we have historically never seen," he said.

California Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that fires have become the new normal in California due in large part to the changing weather.

"The more serious predictions of warming and fires to occur later in the century, 2040 or 2050, they're now occurring in real time," he said. "You can expect, unfortunately, that to keep intensifying in California and throughout the Southwest. We're part of that process of the Mediterranean climate that is being impacted by the changing weather."

Brown added: "I would suspect there will be more fires to come, and more fires each year for a very long time because it's going to be a while before we shift the weather back to where it historically was."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67649

Reported Deaths: 1912
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5613118
DeSoto365831
Harrison252036
Madison242266
Rankin228334
Jackson227642
Jones189958
Forrest180656
Washington166341
Lee146241
Lauderdale141292
Neshoba128692
Lamar122014
Oktibbeha112239
Bolivar111334
Warren109333
Lowndes107737
Panola105913
Sunflower103925
Scott100320
Lafayette97316
Copiah95428
Pike93636
Leflore93363
Holmes89248
Grenada84721
Yazoo83112
Pontotoc8278
Lincoln81741
Monroe79655
Simpson79630
Leake78825
Wayne76721
Coahoma76013
Tate73429
Marshall6959
Marion67720
Union63616
Adams62325
Winston62016
Covington61213
George5815
Pearl River55039
Newton54211
Tallahatchie53110
Attala52225
Walthall50220
Chickasaw46219
Noxubee45711
Alcorn4285
Calhoun4189
Tishomingo4175
Prentiss41210
Claiborne40713
Smith40513
Clay39614
Hancock39014
Jasper3869
Tippah36613
Itawamba35910
Tunica3377
Clarke32726
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29311
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25012
Perry2367
Webster23412
Kemper23314
Amite2326
Jefferson Davis2316
Wilkinson21213
Stone1995
Sharkey1975
Jefferson1967
Benton1441
Choctaw1344
Franklin1272
Issaquena261
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99390

Reported Deaths: 1733
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13109243
Mobile9947207
Montgomery6835148
Madison537834
Tuscaloosa421373
Unassigned359961
Baldwin354425
Shelby328335
Marshall316736
Lee267845
Morgan239318
Etowah212131
DeKalb181913
Calhoun178414
Elmore172338
Walker152664
Houston139812
Russell13682
St. Clair133817
Limestone133313
Dallas132323
Franklin127420
Cullman122512
Colbert118113
Autauga116921
Lauderdale116719
Escambia108217
Talladega102614
Jackson9894
Tallapoosa85579
Chambers84138
Dale83424
Blount8004
Chilton7926
Butler76436
Coffee7616
Covington73520
Pike7097
Clarke6629
Barbour5755
Marion57424
Lowndes57224
Marengo55215
Hale47626
Bullock46411
Winston45311
Perry4424
Bibb4385
Wilcox42910
Monroe4214
Randolph40110
Pickens4009
Conecuh39310
Washington39112
Sumter36018
Lawrence3491
Macon33514
Crenshaw3185
Choctaw28312
Cherokee2737
Henry2633
Geneva2611
Clay2585
Greene25111
Lamar2222
Fayette2075
Cleburne1271
Coosa1012
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