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Land Park. Photo: Redding GIS

Nothing was typical about the way the Carr Fire tore into the city of Redding, California on July 27. Photos released by the city late last week show an aerial perspective of the devastation caused when it launched its deadly assault on the community of about 100,000.

The big picture: This wildfire transformed from an intense blaze to something even the most senior firefighters had never seen before: a towering, spinning inferno that sped downhill, tore across small, outlying subdivisions and towns, and torched parts of the city. Photos show entire homes charred down to the foundation, next to homes that survived as if untouched by the flames.

The details: The Carr Fire's behavior on July 27 has stunned meteorologists who specialize in fire weather. It's long been known that wildfires create their own weather, pulling in air from surrounding areas, lofting it to great heights, occasionally even spawning thunderstorms from the towering smoke plumes.

  • However, the Carr Fire was different. It occurred on an extreme day when conditions for unusual wildfire behavior were at a peak — with record dry vegetation, record hot temperatures and fickle winds. In the late afternoon, with temperatures north of 100°F, the fire formed a vortex.

On video, it looked like a glowing, orange tornado, that post-storm damage surveys have shown contained winds of at least 143 miles per hour — equivalent to an EF-3 tornado. The images, taken by authorized drone operators, show what happens when you combine the capriciousness of a wildfire with the fickle fate dolled out by a fire tornado.

Keswick. Photo: Redding GIS
Lake Redding Estates. Photo: Redding GIS
Rock Creek Road. Photo: Redding GIS
Sunset Terrace. Photo: Redding GIS

In addition, the photos make clear how successful firefighters were at protecting many more structures from burning.

The damage: The speed of the fire's advance and its devastating winds helped turn it into such a deadly event, overtaking a woman and her two great-grandchildren, as well as a firefighter as it advanced into Redding. A total of 8 people have died as a result of the Carr Fire, which was 55% contained as of Saturday.

A staggering 1,077 homes, 22 commercial buildings and 500 other structures have been destroyed by this blaze so far, according to Cal Fire.

Buenaventura Boulevard. Photo: Redding GIS
Swasey Drive. Photo: Redding GIS

The bottom line: The Carr Fire is the 10th-largest and 6th most destructive wildfire in California history, and with continued hot, dry weather in the forecast, it may continue to fester well into September.

In general, climate change is multiplying the fire danger that was already increasing in California and other parts of the West due to decades of fire suppression policies and the construction of homes and businesses in areas that typically see fire activity.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 9 highlights

Team USA's Ryan Murphy, Zach Apple, Michael Andrew and Caeleb Dressel celebrate winning gold in the final of the men's 4x100m medley relay swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Aug. 1. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

Day nine of the Tokyo Olympic Games Sunday saw the final day of swimming competition end with a historic win for Team USA.

The big picture: The U.S. men's 4x100-meter medley relay team set a new record world as they won the final and Caeleb Dressel earned a fifth gold — becoming the fifth American to do so. Team USA's Bobby Finke won the 1,500-meter freestyle.

Trump PACs raise over $82M for first half of 2021

Former President Trump during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on July 11. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former President Trump's political action committees (PACs) raised more than $82 million in the first half of 2021, per Federal Election Commission filings published on Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a significant amount for a former president who's been banned from major social media platforms. It demonstrates his ability to raise huge sums of money should he choose to run for the presidency for a third time.

Updated 6 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Caeleb Dressel celebrates winning gold in the final of the men's 50m freestyle swimming event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gameson Sunday. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

🚨: Simone Biles won't compete in Olympic floor finals, individual vault or uneven bars

🏊: U.S. wins gold in men's 4x100-meter medley relay, earning Caeleb Dressel fifth gold — American Bobby Finke wins gold in men's 1,500-meter freestyle

🏊‍♀️: Katie Ledecky wins gold in women's 800m freestyle

🏌️‍♂️: Golfer Xander Schauffele wins gold for U.S. by one shot

🇬🇧: Britain wins gold in new BMX freestyle category and gold in first-ever Olympic mixed 4x100m medley relay

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 9 highlights

🏳️‍⚧️: Axios at the Olympics: Games grapple with trans athletesTrans athletes see the Tokyo Games as a watershed moment

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

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