A new mandatory evacuation order went out in Lake County late Friday morning for the Mendocino Complex Fire, according to authorities.
They included a bulldozer operator whose vehicle almost slipped off a mountain trail three times before it rolled into a ravine and crushed him at the Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park, a Cal Fire report said.
One of the fires rapidly expanded overnight.
The blaze in Mendocino County, about 90 miles (145 km) north of San Francisco, had spread to cover a total of 201,471 acres (81,500 hectares) by early Saturday, after increasing more than 25 percent in size from Friday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said. Most are in other western states but wildfires have also struck Texas and Florida, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
California fire officials said Saturday that the two fires about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of San Francisco were 27 percent contained and have grown to nearly 250 square miles (648 kilometers). Yosemite remains closed to visitors at least through Sunday at this time.
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The National Weather Service issued warnings for "critical fire weather conditions" through Saturday, Aug. 4.
The 206-square-mile (533-square-kilometer) Carr Fire 100 miles south of the OR border was 39 percent contained after destroying 1,060 homes and many other structures. A Red Flag Warning is in effect in Lake County from 11 a.m. Friday until 11 p.m. Saturday due to gusty winds and low humidity in fire weather zones.
"We do have lines built above the towns of Nice and Lucerne and down around Clearlake Oaks and coming back in and tying into Long Valley", said a Cal Fire official.
By abstaining from controlled burns year after year, unchecked growth has multiplied, dried out and created a tinderbox. KRCR, a local Redding station, is holding a fundraiser for Carr Fire survivors and victims.
Cal Fire has a goal of burning 20,000 acres a year - a goal put into place in 2016.
"We're in uncharted territory", the governor said. But two years ago, only 13,000 acres were burned while the previous three years each saw only around 3,000 acres burned. "And they're large fires, not small".
Access and weather conditions challenge responders' ability to directly fight fires, and visibility conditions from smoke dictate where aircraft support can be deployed, the update said. But it's also come from pushback. Gov. He told reporters Wednesday that "nature is very powerful, and we're not on the side of nature".