Hundreds of firefighters are building barriers and constructing containment lines in an attempt to slow approaching wildfires threatening to torch thousands of homes in a lakeside community southeast of Los Angeles. His wife, children and dog had evacuated as the bright orange flames from the Holy Fire swept through the canyon, sending ash and billowing black smoke into his neighborhood.
They want to encircle the fire before it can devour neighbourhoods and take lives, as enormous fires still burning in northern California have done.
According to state fire officials, California’s fire expenses have more than trebled from $242m in 2013 to $773m in the 2018 fiscal year ending on 30 June.
They are deployed statewide and led by Cal Fire.
The webcam still from the Holy Fire, from the University of California at San Diego, is just one of a number of stunning images capturing these flying tankers.
The smoke layer reaching the East Coast is about a mile high, the NWS says.
Those on the ground get help from more than 1,000 fire engines, 59 bulldozers, 22 air tankers, 17 airplanes, 12 helicopters and 11 mobile kitchens.
The Mendocino Complex Fire is actually made up of two smaller blazes, the Ranch Fire and the River Fire.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asked residents to prepare for future emergencies and thanked firefighters and other personnel battling California’s deadliest wildfire this year. Dry conditions and an increase in dead trees are fueling the fires, which have left more than 800,000 acres of scorched Earth in their path and several people, including firefighters, dead.
The Hat Fire reportedly broke out off Highway 299 near the Hat Creek rest area and sent a large plume of smoke into the air.
An estimated 700 firefighters were battling the blaze.
Nielsen spoke Friday at a press briefing in Redding, California, to update the public on the Carr Fire in Shasta County. He also faces sentencing enhancements for arson of multiple structures.
He said they were still working through the evidence to determine how it was started.
Winds gusting to almost 20 miles per hour are helping drive the flames through tinder-dry brush.
Additional fire crews have been brought in from surrounding counties and states, and from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
“The biggest hazard for this operational period is going to be driving”, Carr fire public safety officer Baraka Carter told firefighters at a morning briefing earlier this week.
“Everything is on a 100 times scale”, he said.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will travel to Redding on Monday for a series of meetings and briefings with fire crews and local leaders, including a walk through of parts of the city that have been damaged by the fire.
This image provided by NASA shows the California wildfires captured from the International Space Station on August 3, 2018 by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst.