Published: Mon, July 30, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Six more die in deadly California blaze

Six more die in deadly California blaze

Firefighters anxious that high winds could fan the flames even further.

"We did everything right", Laura Rathe said. "Any event could bring this back up again".

Anna Noland, 49, was evacuated twice in three days before learning through video footage that the house she last saw under dark and windy skies had burned. She planned to stay at a shelter at Simpson College in Redding while searching for another place to live.

"I think I'm still in shock", Noland said. "It's just unbelievable knowing you don't have a house to go back to".

Noland is among the 38,000 people evacuated after the so-called Carr Fire roared into the outskirts of Redding in Shasta County, leaving five people dead, including two firefighters, a woman and her two great-grandchildren.

Bledsoe's husband, Ed, wasn't home when the fire struck, according to an online fundraiser created by another family member.

A vehicle problem ignited the fire Monday, but it wasn't until Thursday that the fire exploded and raced into communities west of Redding before entering city limits.

US President Donald Trump approved a state of emergency declaration in California due to the fires. Firefighters are battling the blaze, which is only 5% contained so far.

The fire has now taken five lives, destroyed 517 structures and damaged 135, with over 5,000 structures currently threatened. A count by The Associated Press found at least 300 of those structures were homes.

An 81-year-old bulldozer operator named Don Ray Smith and a fire inspector with the Redding Fire Department named Jeremy Stoke were also killed in the Carr Fire.

Authorities confirmed Saturday that Melody Bledsoe, 70, and her great-grandchildren Emily and James Roberts, ages 4 and 5, respectively, died in the blaze.

Bledsoe's relatives were among more than a dozen people reported missing after the furious wind-driven blaze took residents by surprise and leveled several neighborhoods. Gusty winds reaching 60 miles per hour are fanning the flames and creating fire tornadoes, or "firenadoes", that move erratically and are strong enough to overturn vehicles "like toys", McLean told reporters at a news conference late Thursday.

At least six people have died and seven were still missing in Shasta County, California, as the monstrous Carr Fire continued to grow Sunday, authorities said.

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

Details of one firefighter, Brian Hughes, who died while trying to stop flames spreading to the south near Yosemite National Park, also emerged on Sunday. For the Fire Chief, conditions are risky: "Extreme is not even the right adjective to use any more it is just an understatement because fire is so explosive now in California". "I was trying to get to them, I was trying to get to the fire".

A firefighter with the Redding Fire Department was killed in Shasta County, officials said Friday.

The Carr Fire, the deadliest and most destructive of nearly 90 wildfires burning from Texas to OR, has charred almost 34,000 hectares of drought-parched vegetation since erupting last Monday. The blaze had blackened 150 acres and was at 10 percent containment.

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

Fire officials warned that the blaze would probably burn deeper into urban areas before there was any hope of containing it, though it either changed direction or was stopped before it could burn into the core of the city.

One of the California fires prompted a rare closure of much of Yosemite National Park last week, while another forced mass evacuations from the mountain resort community of Idyllwild, east of Los Angeles.

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