Updated Thursday, August 16, 3:46 p.m.
Crews in California are getting a better handle on a number of large wildfires burning throughout the state.
Despite the positive strides, it's still a very dangerous situation. At more than 315,000 acres, the Ranch Fire near Clear Lake is now the single largest fire in state history and was the site of the state's sixth firefighter fatality on Monday.
Cal Fire's Heather Williams says the number of fatalities so far this year are a concern.
"We have to keep that in mind that it's only August," Williams said. "We still have a few months to go and conditions continue to be very dangerous for fire personnel."
Further containment of the Ferguson Fire allowed Yosemite Valley to be opened Tuesday. It was closed off to visitors nearly three weeks ago.
Williams says crews are hopeful that additional evacuation orders can be lifted throughout the state in the coming days. Still, she said this will continue to be a very tough fire season.
"As of August 12, we have burnt over 700,000 acres," she said. "Over a five-year average for this time of year, we only see about 140,000 acres. So, we are definitely at a record pace in terms of acres burned for this year, and I think that trend will continue."
Williams said peak fire conditions will persist heading into the fall, and this week, dry lightning could be a problem in much of Northern California.
Here are the latest updates on the largest fires in the state: Mendocino Complex, Carr, Ferguson, Holy and Donnell fires:
Mendocino Complex Fire (Two Fires In Mendocino And Lake Counties)
What You Need To Know: Utah firefighter Matthew Burchett died while fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire on Monday, the first death attributed to the blazes, according to Cal Fire. Fire crews have fully contained the River Fire, one of the twin blazes making up the complex. The other fire in the complex, the Ranch Fire, continues to burn as containment grows. The fire likely won’t be fully contained until September, according to Cal Fire. The blaze has charred an area the size of Los Angeles, and is the biggest wildfire in California history.
Latest Updates For Acres Burned And Containment:
- River Fire: 48,920 acres, 100 percent contained
- Ranch Fire: 317,117 acres, 69 percent contained
- Mendocino Complex: 366,037 acres, 76 percent contained
Evacuations: There are mandatory evacuation orders in effect throughout parts of Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties.
- Mendocino County: Residents who live south of Eel River, west of the Mendocino-Lake county line, east of 10500 block of Mid Mountain Road, and north of Pine Avenue need to evacuate. This does not include residents living on Pine Avenue.
- Lake County: Residents who live east of the Lake-Mendocino County Line, south of the Lake-Mendocino-Glenn County Line, west of the Lake-Colusa County Line, north of the fire perimeter and the Mendocino National Forest boundary need to evacuate.
Damage To Homes And Structures: The fire has destroyed 147 homes and 118 other buildings, according to Cal Fire. It has damaged another 13 homes and 23 buildings. 1,025 structures remained threatened.
Deaths: Cal Fire announced Monday night that Utah firefighter Matthew Burchett died in connection with the Mendocino Complex fires.
Evacuation Shelters: Evacuation shelters have been set up for residents of the three counties impacted by the fires.
- Twin Pine Casino at 22223 CA-29, Middletown
- Colusa County Veterans Hall at 108 E. Main Street Colusa, CA
- Horses: Redwood Riders Arena, 8300 East Road, Redwood Valley is accepting horses.
- Small animals: Animal Care, 298 Plant Road, Ukiah
The Carr Fire (In Shasta County Near Redding)
Visit here for the latest information on evacuations and fire conditions for the Carr Fire.
What You Need To Know: The Carr Fire near Redding is the deadliest fire so far this year, with eight people killed in connection with the blaze. The fire broke out July 23 and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. All mandatory evacuation orders for the Carr Fire were lifted on Aug. 15, according to Cal Fire.
Latest Updates For Acres Burned And Containment: The fire has burned 214,527 acres acres and is 71 percent contained.
Evacuations: All evacuation orders have been lifted.
A disaster recovery assistance center is open at the Old Kmart Building, located at 2685 Hilltop Dr., Redding, CA, 96003 (9:00am - 7:00pm daily).
Damage To Homes And Structures: According to Cal Fire, 1,077 homes and another 522 buildings have been destroyed. Another 282 structures have been damaged and 528 remain threatened.
Deaths: Four civilians, three firefighters and a PG&E crew member have died in connection with the blaze, according to Cal Fire. Those killed include: Don Ray Smith, 81, a contract bulldozer operator and Andrew Brake, 40, a heavy equipment mechanic, both working with Cal Fire; Jeremy Stoke, a Redding Fire Department firefighter; Melody Bledsoe, 70, and her great-grandchildren, James Roberts, 5, and Emily Roberts, 4; and PG&E apprentice lineman Jairus Ayeta, 21.
The Ferguson Fire (Near Yosemite National Park)
Look here for the latest information on evacuations and fire conditions for the Ferguson Fire.
What You Need To Know: The Ferguson Fire has been burning near Yosemite National Park for over a month, since July 13. The scenic Yosemite Valley re-opened Tuesday after closing on July 25 due to road closures and smoke choking the park. Park spokesman Scott Gediman said Friday that visitors should expect limited hours and visitor services as the park returns to normal. The Forest Service is urging park visitors to use extreme caution when driving in the valley, as fire crews are working in the area.
Latest Updates For Acres Burned And Containment: The fire has burned 96,810 acres and is 87 percent contained.
Evacuations: All mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted, but some areas remain under evacuation warnings.
Road And Trail Closures: Glacier Point Road, Wawona Road (Open to residents only to Yosemite West) and the Pohono Trail along the south rim of Yosemite Valley at Tunnel View.
Damage To Homes And Structures: Ten structures have been destroyed by the fire.
Deaths: There have been two fatalities in the Ferguson Fire. The first was Braden Varney, a Cal Fire bulldozer operator. Varney was killed in the early hours of the fight against the Ferguson Fire on July 14. The second was Brian Hughes, a firefighter with the Arrowhead Interagency Hot Shots. Hughes was killed on July 29 when he was struck and killed by a tree while preparing to burn an area to increase containment.
Evacuation Shelters: N/A
The Holy Fire (In Orange County)
Visit here for the latest information on evacuations and fire conditions for the Holy Fire.
What You Need To Know: Firefighters are working to keep a growing Southern California forest fire that is feeding on dry brush and trees from reaching foothill neighborhoods after flames roared to new ferocity and came within yards of homes. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties as the fire carved its way along ridges in the Cleveland National Forest. The fire started on August 6.
Latest Updates For Acres Burned And Containment: The fire has burned 22,986 acres and is 78 percent contained.
Evacuations: All mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted, but some areas remain under evacuation warnings. All trails, recreational areas and campgrounds in the fire area are closed, including the Blue Jay and Falcon campgrounds, the Holy Jim trails and Trabuco Canyon. Areas north of Ortega Highway and south of Blackstar Canyon Rd and Skyline Drive are closed.
Damage To Homes And Structures: Twelve structures have been confirmed destroyed so far, according to InciWeb.
Deaths: No deaths have been reported, but one firefighter was injured Thursday.
Evacuation Shelters: N/A
The Donnell Fire (In Stanislaus County)
Head here for the latest information on evacuations and fire conditions for the Donnell Fire.
What You Need To Know: The Donnell Fire started on August 1 near State Route 108.
Latest Updates For Acres Burned And Containment: The fire has burned 30,079 acres and is 30 percent contained.
Evacuations: Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for all of the residences and campgrounds along Highway 108 from Eagle Meadow Road to Kennedy Meadows, along Eagle Meadow Road and in the Clark Fork Road area. The Mill Creek area is under an evacuation warning. Sierra Pacific Industries has also closed its forestland to the public due to the fire.
Damage To Homes And Structures: So far, 54 structures have been destroyed and another 220 structures are threatened.
Deaths: There have been no deaths in the Donnell Fire.
Evacuation Shelters: The American Red Cross has set up an evacuation shelter at the Seventh Day Adventist Church at 40 N. Forest Road.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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