Rising winds forecast for Northern California wildfire zones

Mendocino Complex fires map

Mendocino Complex fires map

Thousands more mountain residents were evacuated from the path of California's biggest wildfire on Friday as worn out firefighters battled gusting winds driving one of the state's worst fire seasons in a decade.

The Red Flag fire weather warning remains in force in areas of California where early season wildfires have sprung up and are expanding. The forecast includes extremely low humidity levels that leave vegetation ready to burn.

New mandatory evacuation orders were issued Fiday for residents living near the Mendocino Complex Fires.

Bulldozer operators and their machines build containment lines while battling the River fire in Lakeport, California on July 31.

The combined fires have prompted about 15,000 people to evacuate their homes.

A sign by the side of the road warns of the threat of wildfires which have been fueled by continued hot weather outside the town of Colfax, California, U.S., August 4, 2018.

The blaze has killed two firefighters. Some areas on the fire's southeastern flank were reopened to residents.

The Carr Fire is 39 percent contained after killing six people and incinerating 1,067 homes. Jerry Brown. "We're being surprised".

The fire burned slowly for days before winds suddenly whipped it up last week and drove it furiously through brush and timber.

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Just a month into the budget year, California has already spent more than one-quarter of its annual fire budget, at least US$125 million, state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Mike Mohler said on Wednesday (Thursday NZ Time).

Inspecting the fire-damaged neighborhoods of Redding on Saturday, the governor also said California needs a statewide emergency alert system.

In the Sierra Nevada, firefighters achieved 41 percent containment of a 115-square-mile (298-square-kilometer) forest fire that has shut down Yosemite Valley and other adjacent portions of Yosemite National Park at what is normally the height of summer tourism. The fire had reached into remote areas of the country's third-oldest national park.

The National Park Service said Yosemite Valley is not threatened by the fire as of Friday at noon.

Access to Yosemite Valley is closed through Sunday due to fire operations, the NPS said.

Those figures, along with the fact that large fires are starting earlier in the year, has state officials anxious.

The 11-day-old Carr Fire, which has scorched almost 127,000 acres (54,000 hectares) in the scenic Shasta-Trinity region north of Sacramento, remains the largest and most fearsome of 18 significant wildfires burning across California and more than 100 nationwide. "They've killed, they're killers", said Mr McLean.

Cal Fire has a goal of burning 20,000 acres a year - a goal put into place in 2016. "Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven't had this kind of heat condition, and it's going to continue getting worse".

Below, a CAL FIRE Battalion Chief explains how they fight fires when you don't have enough resources.

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