Deadly wildfires threaten thousands in California
Fast-moving wildfires threaten more than 14,000 homes and other buildings in Northern California. The so-called "Mendocino Complex" fires are burning in rugged terrain about 90 miles north of San Francisco. There are now 17 large fires burning across California. The fires have killed at least eight people.
The Mendocino Complex fires are burning through rugged terrain in the hills of Lake County, moving quickly enough to threaten highly-populated towns nearby. Cell phone video captured the moment drivers had to turn around on a main highway when the road was blocked by flames.
With the winds picking up late in the afternoon, you can actually see there are flames building up near a lot of these homes. That’s why crews have come into this area. They are laying down hoses and building lines to try and protect structures like this one. Many families had to had to pack-up twice in the past two days, when the first shelter they went to had to be evacuated itself on Monday.
Still not everyone is complying with the mandatory evacuation orders. Juan Soria says he’s staying put, even though he saw his neighbor’s field catch fire.
Juan says, "If my life is in jeopardy, i’m not going to risk it for material things. But as long as I can defend it, I will. This is all i got. This is all i got."
The strain of battling these blazes is taking a toll on the fire-fighters here as well. The fire official i spoke with says the demands aren’t just physical, but mental. Many on the front lines are dealing with not just the long, strenuous hours, but the long periods of time away from friends and family. About 2,000 personnel are battling the "Mendocino Complex" fires near the city of Lakeport. The flames have burned more than 107 square miles, an area larger than Sacramento.