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Authorities said 16 other major fires continued across the state in what Gov. In all, they have destroyed hundreds of homes, killed nine people - including four firefighters - and shut down Yosemite National Park. The declaration makes federal funds available to residents of Shasta County, where the Carr Fire outside Redding, California, has wiped out entire neighborhoods and forced thousands of evacuations.

Two other blazes collectively called the Mendocino Complex burned in Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties, about 90 miles north of San Francisco.

The Mendocino Complex fires cover an area 71 percent of the size of Los Angeles.

"The Ranch Fire is still a very, very dynamic and active fire, but with the River Fire wrapping up, we've begun to move more aircraft over there and we are having some successes with that", said Blankenheim, explaining that one of Cal Fire's main priorities is to keep the bottom of the Ranch Fire from heading down the hill toward the communities of Lucerne, Nice and Clearlake Oaks in Lake County.

The White House said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPastor at Trump rally prays to shield Trump from "jungle journalism" Bill Russell: Being criticized by Trump is the "biggest compliment you can get" Salmon farmers in California fear Trump will destroy their industry MORE has approved a disaster declaration for California as the state battles devastating wildfires.

"Fire season is really just beginning". The forecast includes extremely low humidity levels that leave vegetation ready to burn.

"In past decades, we may have seen a fire that we're seeing now (such as the Carr Fire), in August or September", CalFire Director Ken Pimlott said during a press conference earlier this week.

A new report says the first firefighter, a California bulldozer operator, almost slipped off a steep mountain trail three times before his vehicle finally rolled into a ravine and fatally crushed him.

Increasing winds are expected in Northern California areas where deadly and destructive wildfires are burning.

The fire, which is centered about 200 miles north of San Francisco, has been one of this year's most prominent blazes, an emblem of the yearly destruction visited on a state grappling with extreme weather that has made severe wildfire seasons more likely, scientists say.

A team of 188 specialist Australian and New Zealand firefighters are also on the ground in California to help battle the blazes.

Some areas on the fire's southeastern flank in Redding were reopened to relieved residents. The Ranch Fire, which has burned over 207,000 acres, is only 23 percent contained.

Meteorologist Steve Anderson said wind gusts could reach 25 miles per hour (40 kph) during the day today.

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

It burned so furiously on July 26 that it created a "fire whirl". The whirl uprooted trees and tore roofs from homes, Dykema said.


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