3 more confirmed dead as massive Northern California fire grows

Minnie Murray
July 30, 2018

Trees burst into flame during the Carr fire near Whiskeytown, California on July 27, 2018.

Crews attacking the Carr fire in and around Redding said they had located another body - the fourth civilian to perish in that blaze.

Redding police Sergeant Todd Cogle said some of those reported missing may have fled their homes without cellphones and be safe in evacuation centers or out of the area.

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

Family members said Melody Bledsoe, 70, and her two great-grandchildren 5-year-old James Roberts and 4-year-old Emily Roberts were alone on the family's rural property outside of Redding Thursday when walls of flames engulfed the home.

"The boat docks down there - all the way out in the water - 30 to 40 boats caught fire when the fire laid down on top of them last night and burned those up", said fire Chief Mike Hebrard of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

"I tried to call them back and it just went to nothing", Bledsoe said as he wept.

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

Five people have died, including two firefighters, and 17 people are missing. The two fires, burning 50 kilometers apart, started Friday and were threatening more than 350 buildings.

Some evacuees from a deadly Northern California wildfire say they are frustrated because they don't know whether their homes are standing or were destroyed. Here's how you can help those impacted by the Carr Fire: GoFundMe has published a running list of verified campaigns supporting individual families whose homes were destroyed in the fire. Over 35,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes.

Although well above average for the same period over the past decade, it is down from 5.27 million acres (2.13 million hectares) in the first seven months of 2017. Those fires had burned almost 100 square miles (260 square kilometers).

More than 3,410 fire personnel are battling the blaze with more than 300 engines and 17 helicopters, Cal Fire reported, as tall smoke plumes turn the sky an eerie orange-brown hue.

Authorities also issued evacuation orders in Napa County, famous for its wine, when several structures caught fire, the Napa Valley Register reported.

Cal Fire officials said more than 10,000 firefighters were on the line, making progress on 14 large wildfires across California.

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.

Romero said there are still many uncertainties that could cause the fire to explode. Temperatures were forecast to reach 42.8degC on Saturday, with winds of up to 13kmh, according to the National Weather Service. It exploded on Thursday, jumped the Sacramento River and entered the Redding city limits.

A great-grandmother and her two beloved great-grandchildren are the latest to be named among victims of the wildfire ripping through a vast expanse of Northern California. At least 500 homes, businesses and other structures have been destroyed by the fast-moving fire, while 75 others have been damaged.

Authorities said a second firefighter has died fighting a huge blaze near California's Yosemite National Park.

Greg and Terri Hill evacuated their Redding home of 18 years Thursday night with little more than their medications, photo albums, clothes and firearms, assuming they'd be back home in a few days.

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. Damante said the "quickness" and "volatility" of the blaze was unlike anything she had ever seen before.

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