California wildfires: Death toll to 7 as rapid spread continues

California wildfires: Death toll to 7 as rapid spread continues

California wildfires: Death toll to 7 as rapid spread continues

A couple of fast-growing wildfires in northern California expanded to more than two-thirds the size of sprawling Los Angeles as more residents were ordered to evacuate their homes and tired firefighters endured high temperatures and gusting winds.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company tells ABC News a crew member was doing restoration work in Shasta County when an unspecified accident happened.

"He was working in a remote area in unsafe terrain in supprt of power restoriation efforts", said Melissa Subbotin, a PG&E spokesperson.

Ayeta is the seventh person to die in the vast blaze that has been burning for two weeks near Redding, where armies of firefighters and fleets of aircraft continue battling the flames about 100 miles (160 kilometres) south of the OR state line. In all, they have destroyed hundreds of homes, killed eight people and shut down Yosemite National Park. The blaze, known as the Mendocino Complex fire, has grown to 357 square miles and is 32 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.

Meanwhile, new evacuations were ordered Saturday near twin fires burning in Mendocino and Lake counties. Another 9,000 buildings are threatened.

More than 4,500 firefighters have been battling the blaze for almost two weeks, facing triple-digit temperatures and winds up to 30 miles per hour, according to The Los Angeles Times.

"The president has been pretty good on helping us in disasters, so I'm hopeful", said Brown, a Democrat.

KQED's Lesley McClurg and Kat Snow reported for NPRthat the fires have had lasting impacts on residents there, "Confronting constant reminders of what fire can do has become a terrifying reality for people who survived last year's flames and are still piecing their lives back together".

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.

In his request to President Donald Trump, Brown said the Carr Fire ranked as California's sixth most destructive, having destroyed more than 131,000 acres at the time of writing.

Cal Fire operations chief Charlie Blankenheim said in a video update Monday morning on Facebook that success against the River Fire was due to "a very large aircraft show" on Sunday.

More immediately, the declaration will enable federal agencies to help battle the 17 major fires burning throughout the state.

"California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren't allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized", he tweeted.

Dykema says the whirl started when hot air from the exceptionally hot fire rose and twisted tightly, creating a powerful tornado of flames and wind.

The fire burned slowly for days before winds suddenly whipped it up last week and drove it quickly through dry brush and trees.

Firefighters have achieved more than 40 percent containment of that fire, which had reached into remote areas of the country's third-oldest national park.

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