SATURDAY CA WILDFIRE UPDATE: Windy, hot weather threatens new areas

If you live in or are traveling in California, this is a time for you to be extra alert to the wildfires burning out of control across parts of the state and the conditions that feed those fires.

Crews battling deadly Northern California wildfires braced for a weekend of windy, hot weather that could drive the flames into new areas and threaten more homes, reports CBS News on Saturday morning.

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 mph that could turn small fires or sparks into racing walls of flame.

“This is a particularly dangerous situation with extremely low humidity and high winds. New fires will grow rapidly out of control, in some cases people may not be able to evacuate safely in time should a fire approach,” the weather service said. 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. If you are camping near any of the fires, even if you think you are a safe distance away, get out now.

The fire remained several miles from the evacuated communities along the eastern shore of Clear Lake but “it looks like there’s dicey weather on the way,” California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Jane LaBoa said.

The fire burned slowly for days before winds suddenly whipped it up last week and drove it furiously through brush and timber. It burned so furiously on July 26 that it created a “fire whirl” that reached speeds of 143 mph, which rivaled some of the most destructive Midwest tornadoes, National Weather Service meteorologist Duane Dykema said.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which uses acres to describe fire size, said the blaze had blackened nearly 206 square miles.

 

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