Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Carr Fire In California - Size And Heat Of Fire Creating Its Own Weather System, Updates On California Fires

The Carr Fire raging in Northern California is so large and hot that it is creating its own localized weather system with variable strong winds, making it difficult for experts to predict which way the blaze will spread.
At least 19 people were still reported missing in Shasta County, California, officials said at a community meeting Monday evening, after shifting winds, dry fuel and steep terrain helped the monstrous fire engulf more than 103,000 acres. 
The fire has claimed six lives, including a firefighter and bulldozer operator working to extinguish the blaze.
Authorities have received 48 missing person reports but 29 people have since been found safe, according to Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko.
The fire, which started a week ago, has burned 103,772 acres and is just 23% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire. It has scorched an area bigger than the size of Denver. 
Flames have destroyed at least 966 structures in the area, making it one of the top 10 most destructive wildfires in California history. In fact, seven of the 12 most destructive fires have happened since 2015.
"We are seeing more destructive, larger fires burning at rates that we have historically never seen," said Jonathan Cox, Cal Fire regional battalion chief. 
More than 3,300 fire personnel are battling the flames with more than 330 engines and 17 helicopters, Cal Fire reported.
Wildfires like this can get so hot they make pyrocumulus clouds, formations that look like mushroom clouds and can be seen for miles.

Cumulus clouds are usually formed when the sun heats the ground, sending warm air up, where the air cools and condenses to form a cloud. In a wildfire, heat from flames forces the air to rise quickly. Water inside trees and other plants evaporates. The added moisture condenses in the cooler air above.
The clouds look and act like thunderstorms. They can produce lightning and powerful winds in different directions, further complicating efforts of firefighters.
Sometimes, they even contain enough moisture to become a type of cloud that can produce rain -- possibly even putting out the blaze.

High temperatures, low humidity and increased winds are all in the forecast, setting the stage for more explosive fire behavior, Chris Harvey with the Cal Fire Incident Management Team said Sunday.

The National Weather Service also warned that forecast conditions would worsen the situation.

"A dangerous heat wave will continue from California to the Pacific Northwest early this week. Triple-digit heat combined with dry humidity will only exacerbate the ongoing wildfire situation in California," it said on Twitter.
CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said no rain is in the forecast this week.
"Winds in the area of the fires will be locally gusty, with gusts up to 25 mph. The fires are likely to generate their own winds, which could be stronger at times," she said. "Elsewhere across Central and Southern California the story remains similar. Temperatures will remain 5-10 degrees above average for the region, and dry/drought conditions will continue with little to no rain expected throughout the week."

California fires are ablaze again this summer, destroying homes and businesses, causing the deaths of at least at least six people, and displacing thousands. With the worst blazes raging across Northern California near Redding with more smaller fires burning across Southern California, the 2018 California wildfires are difficult to keep track of. Thankfully, Google Maps has released its 2018 California fire map that lists updates on the various blazes, as well as a Google Crisis Map with information about air quality, evacuation orders, shelters, fire containment statistics, road closures, and more.
Google’s 2018 Statewide Fire Map for California lists all the active fires in the state for which California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is responding. The continuously updated map is a good way for people not in the midst of the smoke to get a better understanding of the challenges currently facing the Golden State.

Carr Fire

The Carr Fire is California’s deadliest blaze of 2018 so far, covering nearly 100,000 acres near the Northern California city of Redding, destroying more than 700 homes, and claiming the lives of at least six people, including one firefighter, so far. More than 38,000 people have evacuated the area.
The rapidly spreading wildfire began Thursday in the foothills of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and spread down toward Redding and surrounding neighborhoods and roadways including Interstate 5.
The Carr Fire continues to rage, though it is now 20% contained, which refers to how much of a control line has been constructed around a fire to keep it from jumping major roadways and igniting new areas of land. A control line is also referred to as a fire trail, an actual line dug in soil to prevent a fire from burning more brush.
The Carr Fire has stayed in the news not just because of its ferocity and “wall of flame,” as Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean called it when speaking with NBC News. Video of a so-called firenado from the Carr Fire has gone viral, showing a frightening tornado-like fire vortex that results from a massive wind updraft combined with the heat of a major blaze.

River and Ranch Fires (Mendocino Complex)

Burning across Mendocino and Lake Counties, these two Northern California wildfires started on Friday, located within 14 miles of one another. The Ranch Fire was at over 35,000 acres as of Monday, and the River Fire has already burned 20,000 acres. Each fire is just 5% contained, according to Santa Rosa, Calif. newspaper The Press Democrat.

Ferguson Fire

The Ferguson Fire, located in the foothills west of Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest, has consumed over 56,000 acres and is 30% contained as of Monday.

Whaleback Fire

The Whaleback Fire is burning east of Lassen Volcanic National Park and Lassen National Forest near towns including Susanville. This Northern California wildfire, cause still unknown, began on Friday and has burned more than 14,000 acres. As of Monday, the Whaleback Fire was 20% contained, according to KOLO-TV.
With summer winds fanning the flames of the California fires, causing some blazes to grow and others to merge, these two dynamic maps are worth bookmarking, so you can stay up to date with the latest updates from affected areas in Northern California as well as Southern California.
Fortune will continue to update this post as California’s 2018 summer fires continue to rage.

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