By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologistAugust 05, 2018 - 4:48:21 PM EDT
The Mendocino Complex Fire has charred more than 254,000 acres, making it the fifth largest blaze in California's history. Firefighters will continue to face local gusty winds and building heat this week.
Officials say a utility worker in his 20s was been killed on the western edge of the Carr fire in Shasta County. This is now the seventh person to die in the destructive fire burning near Redding, California.
A weak storm from the Pacific Ocean kicked up gusty winds across parts of California, Nevada and Wyoming on Saturday.
These winds contributed to the spreading of the Mendocino Complex fire, which resulted in mandatory evacuations for portions of Colusa County, California, on Saturday evening.
The Mendocino Complex fire is comprised of the Ranch and River fires. Together, these blazes have charred more than 250,000 acres near Ukiah, California. This is the fifth largest California wildfire on record in terms of acreage burned. A total of 15,300 structures are being threatened.
Breezy conditions and relatively low humidity will continue to plague firefighters battling this complex fire each afternoon and evening into early this week.
During the same time, stronger Sundowner winds are anticipated to develop and significantly increase the fire danger around Santa Barbara.
There is much more in the Accuweather report about wildfires currently burning in the West; the report includes weather predictions for the region for the upcoming week, all of which point to unusually high temperatures.
The Complex fire is not to be confused with the famous Carr fire in California, which is still only 41 percent contained and at this point has charred 154,000 acres. But it's the very hot weather that's making all the current wildfires so destructive. The Accuweather report noted:
"Rapidly-rising air caused by the extreme heat helps the fire to grow explosively as the fire will create its own wind, as well as fire vortices (firenadoes) and tree crowning (when the leaves get engulfed by flames), even on otherwise calm days," AccuWeather Meteorologist and volunteer firefighter Evan Duffey said.
On Thursday, July 26, the Carr Fire produced a fire whirl that caused damage equal to that of an EF 3 tornado with winds in excess of 143 mph.