Northern California wildfire created destructive tornado

Smoke from the Cranston Fire is shown from east of Lake Hemet in Riverside County California U.S

Smoke from the Cranston Fire is shown from east of Lake Hemet in Riverside County California U.S

It may take years before scientists come to a consensus on what to exactly call this vortex - a fire whirl, as named by the National Weather Service, or a fire tornado. If it is considered a tornado, this destructive whirl would be the most powerful in California's history.

'This is a particularly risky situation with extremely low humidity and high winds.

Meanwhile, firefighters battling the deadly and destructive wildfires in the region faced worsening weather conditions.

The weather service issued warnings for critical fire weather conditions into Saturday, saying a series of dry low-pressure systems passing through the region would bring afternoon wind gusts. 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 in its bulletin for the Mendocino area north of San Francisco.

A wildfire churning among mountain towns in Mendocino County in California mushroomed into the largest in the state on Friday, threatening 9,200 homes, as worn out firefighters battled gusting winds fanning multiple other blazes. The fire burning near Redding has grown to 206 square miles (533 square kilometers) and destroyed at least 1,060 homes.




Wildfires typically create whirls but rarely of the strength of the one recorded July 26, Dykema said. This was initially just an evacuation advisory earlier Friday morning. More than 1,300 homes remained threatened. It has destroyed 88 structures and forced the evacuation of 14,000 residents, including in the towns of Nice and Lucerne about 93 miles (150 km) north of San Francisco, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire). The forecast included extremely low humidity levels that leave vegetation ready to burn.

Both fires were active overnight, including a rapid expansion eastward by the Ranch Fire.

The 206-square-mile (533-square-kilometer) Carr Fire 100 miles south of the OR border is 39 percent contained after destroying 1,060 homes and many other structures. Varney's radio wasn't communicating with headquarters, so his assistant relayed messages - until they lost contact. To the south, the River Fire remains at 41,000 acres and is 50 percent contained.

Tim Smith, (right), gets a first look at his wildfire-ravaged home alongside his daughter, Suzie Scatena, (center), and aid worker Deborah Coombs.

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