3 more confirmed dead as massive Northern California fire grows

30 July, 2018, 14:29 | Author: Bert Pena
  • 5 Killed Including 2 Children and Their Great-Great Grandmother in California Wildfires

The firefighters killed in the blaze included Don Ray Smith, 81, of Pollock Pines, a bulldozer operator who was helping clear vegetation in the path of the wildfire.

Bledsoe's two children, James Roberts, 5, and Emily Roberts, 4, were stranded with her grandmother, Melody Bledsoe, 70, when walls of flames swept through the family's rural property Thursday on the outskirts of Redding.

A Go Fund Me effort to help Ed Bledsoe had raised half its $30,000 goal by Sunday.

"It's a hard fire to deal with", Austin said, noting the weather was hot and the terrain rugged.

Still, he agreed with other experts that say the destruction was also the result of more people living closer to fire-prone areas. The two fires, burning 50 kilometers apart, started Friday and were threatening more than 350 buildings.

Officials also said there have now been two fatalities in the Ferguson fire, which has consumed more than 54,000 acres near Yosemite.

Search crews, meanwhile, sifted through the ashes of what used to be the family's neighborhood in Redding, Calif., looking for something much worse.

"We're not getting a break with the weather", said Chris Anthony, a spokesman for Cal Fire, the state agency responsible for fighting wildfires.

An army of some 3,500 firefighters and a squadron of 17 water-dropping helicopters had carved buffer lines around just 5 percent of the fire's perimeter as of Sunday.

Redding resident Tim Bollman hiked four miles to check on his home, only to find it had been completely destroyed.

Around 12,000 firefighters battled Sunday to contain wildfires in California that have killed six people - but authorities warned "erratic" winds and dry conditions have caused the flames to grow and spread.

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Gale-force winds on Thursday night created a fire "tornado" said CalFire Director Ken Pimlott. It has burned 150 acres (61 hectares).

The 45-square-mile fire that began Monday tripled in size overnight Thursday amid scorching temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions.

Cal Fire spokeswoman Tricia Austin said Sunday the blazes were each 5 percent contained. Authorities had not reopened any evacuated neighborhoods where fires raged due to safety and ongoing investigations and urged people to be patient, saying they would soon let residents back.

The weather forecast for the south part of the Carr Fire near Igo for Saturday calls for a high of 110 degrees, 11 percent relative humidity, and variable winds at 5 to 10 miles per hour gusting up to 13.

Bledsoe said even though the family was not told to evacuate, he feels more guilty than angry. The winds that aided crews in keeping the flames from more populated areas were propelling the inferno at a frightening rate in unpredictable directions. It then jumped the Sacramento River and took out subdivisions on the western edge of Redding.

Two young children and their great-grandmother are the latest victims of a massive and fast-moving wildfire in Shasta County that officials acknowledged Saturday they were making little progress in controlling. The blaze has destroyed at least 536 structures, damaged another 117 and was threatening almost 5,000 others, officials said.

A woman and her two great-grandchildren who had been missing since Thursday died in Northern California's deadly Carr Fire, according to their relatives.

More than 38,000 people remained under evacuation orders on Sunday in and around Redding, a city of 90,000 people about 160 miles (257 km) north of the state capital Sacramento.

Anna Noland, 49, was evacuated twice in three days before learning through video footage that her house had burned.

Donna Araiza, founder of the Alyssa Araiza "Wings of Angels" organization for seriously ill children, said Stoke regularly donated to her group, as well as the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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