This animation shows just how fast the Carr Fire is spreading

Firefighters battle the Ranch Fire near Upper Lake California

Two firefighters and four other people have been killed since the blaze, which ignited July 23, raced with extraordinary fury toward the region's largest city.

The Mendocino Complex Fire is forcing more families to flee from their homes.

"Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley, Crane Flat, Big Oak Flat, and Hetch Hetchy are closed due to the Ferguson Fire", the National Park Service said in a statement on its website.

As we wrote the other day, the Carr wildfire has now become the sixth most destructive on record in California, surpassing both of last year's Thomas and Nuns fires. By the end of July, wildfires across the state had killed eight people and scorched 200,000 acres.

"The fire is still very active on top of Cow Mountain", he said, explaining that while dozer lines held on the west side of the mountain, they did not hold on the east side and the fire moved into Scotts Valley.

The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings of critical fire weather conditions through Saturday night, saying a series of dry low-pressure systems passing through the region could bring wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour (56 kph) that could turn small fires or even sparks into racing walls of flames. The forecast includes extremely low humidity levels that leave vegetation ready to burn. The two blazes were named as the Mendocino Complex Fire and are threatening 12,200 structures.

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As of Saturday, the Carr Fire is 39 percent contained, and firefighting reinforcements are coming to California from as far as New Zealand. Fire officials said another 8,000 homes and other buildings were threatened - down from about 12,000 homes initially threatened as firefighters made progress in some areas even as the blaze expanded in others.

A fire whirl spawned by the Carr Fire carried wind speeds equivalent to an EF-3 tornado, the National Weather Service said on Thursday.

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.

Another fire located 100 miles to the northeast has already seen six deaths with 41 percent of that blaze reportedly under control. Varney's radio wasn't communicating with headquarters, so his assistant relayed messages - until they lost contact.

The 206-square-mile (533-square-kilometer) Carr Fire 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the OR border was 39 percent contained after destroying 1,060 homes and many other structures. The report called for better "risk assessment" among firefighters.

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