Nine major wildfires burned about 40 square miles in San Diego County last week, according to a California Fire spokesman. Authorities have formed a task force to look into the causes of the fires and determine whether or not they were arson.
A cell phone video shot by Adam Jordan captured the early moments of a fire that started in Carlsbad California. The video could be a major clue for investigators trying to determine what sparked the wildfire. Kyung Lah reports.
A fire tornado, also known as a "firenado," is a column of flames that resemble a tornado, containing smoke and flames. The fire rises and twists into the air and shoots out flames as it burns. Tom Foreman demonstrates how firenadoes form and describes the dangers of getting too close to one.
The San Marcos/Cocos wildfire fire remained "very active" for a third day in California. More than 3,000 acres has burned in just that fire alone. Many evacuations in the area remain in effect.
One family whose home was destroyed talked to Anderson about the rush to escape the fire. "I was at home in the house with the kids and got a call from my husband that he was coming up the hill and noticed a just little bit of smoke," said Amanda Sekerke. She, and her husband Stan rented a home in San Marcos where they lived for three years with their four children. Amanda, who's pregnant with their fifth child, said her husband told her to "get the kids in the car" and that they needed to get out of the area before the fire picked up. She was able to escape with their children, dog and two cats.
The Sekerke family returned to the site of where the house once stood. "There was nothing, so I imagine it must’ve been really hot to melt all the metal .. but it was just all gone, " Mr. Sekerke said. The wildfire destroyed the entire home and their belongings.
If you would like to help the Sekerke family they've set up a website for donations here: http://www.gofundme.com/97dois
The coldest temperatures on record in some parts of the U.S. have left passengers across the country dealing with long delays. By bus, by air and by train many travelers are stuck far from home, with lines growing as temperatures drop. CNN’s Rosa Flores has the latest.
Bone-chilling cold is gripping much of the country. Some areas are seeing their lowest temperatures in 20 years. Authorities already blame the cold for at least 13 deaths. This phenomenon is the result of a polar vortex – a mass of frigid swirling air from the north. Stephanie Elam takes a look at some of the worst weather in America.
The National Weather Service confirms that a tornado that ripped through Washington, Illinois was an EF4, packing winds of up to 190 miles per hour. The mayor says as many as 500 homes in the town were destroyed or seriously damaged. At least six people were killed in Illinois as tornadoes touched down across the state. Gary Tuchman reports on one Illinois family who captured video of the tornado that destroyed their home and lived to tell the tale.
Editor’s Note: Click here to watch AC360 reports from the frontlines of the deadly Arizona wildfire.
The governor of Arizona has announced flags at all state buildings will be fly at half-staff for 19 days, through July 19. That’s one day for each of the 19 elite firefighters who died battling the Yarnell Hill fire near Prescott. Today the nearly 600 firefighters on the scene stopped their work for a moment of silence in honor of those heroes. The pause came as the convoy of vehicles used by the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots were driven from the scene and back to Prescott, where the team was based. Some progress is being made in fighting the flames.
Here’s the AC360 411:
Jaenette and Kristian Coyne's home was destroyed by the blaze in Colorado. They escaped the fire with their 20-month-old baby and the few sentimental items they could pack with little time to get out.
At a local fire station on Tuesday, they watched the images on the news showing their home consumed by flames. "It was probably the worst thing I've ever seen in my life," said Jaenette. They told Anderson Cooper how they're processing the devastating destruction of their property in an interview on Thursday.
"We literally had five minutes and we left because the flames were there," said Jaenette. "The first thing I grabbed was the baby album, then I grabbed our personal computer ... we grabbed the fire box ... and that was it. We had to leave."
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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