Burning money: The facts on California's soaring cost to fight wildfires

Burning money: The facts on California's soaring cost to fight wildfires

The Mendocino Complex Fire is forcing more families to flee from their homes.

The Mendocino Complex fires cover more than two-thirds the size of sprawling Los Angeles.

Large areas north and west of Clear Lake, including along the lake's north shore, remained under mandatory evacuation Sunday.

Brown also stressed that California must continue to lessen the effects of climate change, which is blamed for exacerbating the warm and dry conditions that lead to wildfires.

The report says 36-year-old Braden Varney was working alone overnight July 14 fighting a wildfire sparked hours earlier outside Yosemite National Park.

The River Fire, where this video of air tanker was taken, has burned through 42,200 acres and is about 50 percent contained.

Those gusts were slowing efforts in the steep, rugged terrain to carve out buffer zones in front of the fire's leading edge, said Gabriel Lauderdale, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire).

Others killed since the beginning of the Carr Fire are Don Ray Smith, 81, of Pollock Pines, a private bulldozer operator killed while trying to contain the flames; fire inspector Jeremy Stoke, a Redding firefighter since 2004 who was killed battling the fire Thursday night; 70-year-old Melody Bledsoe and her great-grandchildren Emily, 4, and James, 5. Fueled by high temperatures, wind and low humidity, the blaze has destroyed multiple structures and killed seven people.

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Some 15,000 structures were threatened, 68 homes have been destroyed and at least a dozen are damaged, officials said.

Firefighters from 16 states have rushed to California, and authorities were reinforcing 3,232 personnel on the Mendocino Complex Fire, which is made up of two blazes.

A 100-square-mile (259-square-kilometer) fire near Yosemite National Park prompted evacuation orders for the community of Wawona inside the park, which has fewer than 200 residents.

"This is a particularly risky situation with extremely low humidity and high winds". The fire rapidly swept down the hillside, as the 747 bomber, DC10 and the C-130 planes doused the area with retardant, followed up by continuous water by helicopters.

A seventh person died in a fire in northern California on Saturday. Workers who live in Yosemite's popular Valley region were ordered to leave Friday because of inaccessible roads. The twirling tower of flame reached speeds of 143 miles per hour, which rivaled some of the most destructive Midwest tornadoes, NWS meteorologist Duane Dykema said.

The heat of wildfires can sometimes create short-lived "fire whirls", and at first, experts were reluctant to call the Redding fire column a tornado. The whirl uprooted trees and tore roofs from homes, Dykema said.

Cal Fire reported those fires were 33-percent contained Sunday morning, and projected full containment to occur in 10 days.

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