Carr Fire in California claims lives of great-grandmother, two children and firefighters

30 July, 2018, 14:29 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Carr Fire in California claims lives of great-grandmother, two children and firefighters

Sixteen people had been reported missing, but nine of those were found safe, according to Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, who spoke at a Sunday news conference.

On Saturday afternoon, Redding police said they were trying to locate 17 people reported missing by relatives or friends since Thursday night.

The fire grew slightly to 131 square miles (340 square kilometers) Saturday.

On Saturday, it pushed southwest of Redding, the largest city in the region, toward the tiny communities of Ono, Igo and Gas Point.

The Carr Fire almost doubled in size to 80,906 acres Saturday. Crews have been dealing with gusty winds and hot temperatures.

"There are just places were there should not be subdivisions", said Kurt Henke, a former fire chief in Sacramento who now serves as a consultant to fire organizations. "It's burning in every direction, all at the same time". That pull creates strong winds, which form the vortex.

Noland is among the 38,000 people evacuated after the Carr Fire roared into the outskirts of Redding in Shasta County, leaving six people dead, including an unidentified person, two firefighters, a woman and her two great-grandchildren, ages 4 and 5. He was identified Saturday as Don Ray Smith, 81, of Pollock Pines.

A bulldozer operator as well as a member of the Redding Fire Department were killed in the blaze.

The incident commander for the fire around Redding expressed some hope on Sunday that firefighters may be able to bring it under control: "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 of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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The latest tally of 500 destroyed structures was sure to rise. A count by The Associated Press found at least 300 of those structures were homes.

Homes leveled by the Carr Fire line the Lake Keswick Estates area of Redding, Calif., on Friday, July 28, 2018.

Authorities said they were also struggling with the loss.

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in the county, as well as in the counties of Lake, Napa and Mendocino.

Big fires also continued to burn outside Yosemite National Park and in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs.

At least 125 square miles (320 square km) had been scorched by the Carr fire by Saturday night.

Some evacuations were lifted but officials said Yosemite Valley, the heart of tourism in the park, will remain closed until August 3.

Disclosure: Chriss Street's parents were safely evacuated from their Redding home at around 3 p.m. on Friday.

About 100 law enforcement officers and 260 National Guard soldiers were helping with evacuations and providing security in empty neighborhoods.

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Moore was among the many who lost homes.

About 12,000 firefighters were battling the fires, she said.

But when they returned Friday, virtually nothing was left of their home but fine particles of ash.

"It's pretty emotional", Terri Hill said. "That is kind of that new normal that we are dealing with in California".

Firefighters discuss plans while battling the Carr Fire in Shasta, Calif., on Thursday, July 26, 2018.

The fire blew across the Sacramento River and burned a path to the property where Melody Bledsoe was living with her great-grandchildren.

Bledsoe's husband, Ed, who had the couple's only vehicle, had gone to buy supplies before any evacuation order was issued, family members said.

However, experts say this has been the worst start to the fire season in 10 years - partly due to the 2012-2017 drought that killed off large amounts of vegetation.

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

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"It looked like a war zone, " he said.

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