Carr Fire Kills 5 People, Burns 80k Acres Near Redding, California

30 July, 2018, 14:28 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Melody Bledsoe died along with her great-grandchildren James and Emily

To the northeast, a massive fire near Redding slowed for the first time since days of explosive growth.

"We're feeling a lot more optimistic today as we're starting to gain some ground rather than being in a defensive mode on this fire all the time", said Bret Gouvea, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's incident commander on the blaze around Redding, which is located about 230 miles north of San Francisco.

CalFire Director Ken Pimlott described the fire activity at a news conference on Friday as nearly like a "tornado".

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said he expected to find several of those people alive and just out of touch with loved ones.

The sheriff's department is also investigating seven missing-persons reports, Bosenko said. Around 37,000 people remain under evacuation orders.

The fire, which started on Monday afternoon, has been fed by hot, dry weather and high winds.

The latest tally showed at least 517 structures destroyed and another 135 damaged, Romero said. On Friday an Associated Press reporter counted at least 125 burned homes.

Cal Fire reported at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning that 21 major fires are burning in California.

He said the fire behavior was so erratic, there were tornadoes within the fire "tossing around equipment, blowing windows out of Cal Fire pickup trucks". "I've never seen a fire with such destruction here in this area ever before", said Moty, appearing at a news conference with other public safety officials. The fires have forced evacuations and are threatening more than 4,500 structures.

The Ranch and River fires in Mendocino County have collectively scorched more than 24,000 acres, Cal Fire said.

He took hundreds of photos, recorded video and texted his wife. "It's just unbelievable knowing you don't have a house to go back to".

"It is what it is", he sighed, and then hiked off.

The nearby town of Keswick, with a population of about 450, was reduced to ash.

Firefighters from various San Diego County fire departments scratch out a fire line in De Luz on Saturday. The boy said he had to come back to the home because the flames were closing in.

Decker took the day off work Friday and drove his motorcycle to the home to look for members of the family but only found the smoldering remains of the house. He said his crew would be looking for anything salvageable, but there was little left standing.

The fatalities included two firefighters and a woman and her two great-grandchildren.

He said the victim, who was not identified, didn't evacuate despite receiving an evacuation warning.

"We don't want to give the impression that all these people have suffered some kind of grave circumstances", Cogle said.

Two firefighters had already been killed by the fire, Redding fire inspector Jeremy Stoke and a bulldozer operator whose name wasn't immediately released.

More than 3,000 firefighters were battling the blaze, which had grown to 140 square miles. A Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park firefighter suffered a fatal injury and died Sunday while battling the Ferguson Fire, according to a statement from the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office. For the Fire Chief, conditions are unsafe: "Extreme is not even the right adjective to use any more it is just an understatement because fire is so explosive now in California". "This is just July, so we're not even into the worst part of fire season". With so many burning near populated areas, "resources are obviously stretched thin", he said. They had blackened 39 square miles and were each 5 percent contained. About 5,000 other buildings were threatened, fire officials said. The blaze had blackened 150 acres, but was 50 percent contained on Sunday.

Another firefighter hired as a contractor, was also killed fighting the fire. He had been with California's Arrowhead Interagency Hotshots for four years and reached the rank of captain.

Some evacuations have been lifted but officials said Yosemite Valley, the heart of tourism in the park, will remain closed until August 3. The Yosemite and Southern California blazes had burned almost 100 square miles (260 square kilometers).

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