Published: Mon, July 30, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

California wildfires: sixth victim found as thousands forced to flee

California wildfires: sixth victim found as thousands forced to flee

Lakeport, home to about 5,000 people, is around 190 kilometres north of San Francisco. With so many burning near populated areas, "resources are obviously stretched thin", he said. By Saturday morning, the fire grew to 80,906 acres and is only around 5% contained, according to officials.

In the city of Redding, which has been at the forefront of the Carr Fire, officials sounded more hopeful for the first time in days as the strong winds of the last several days abated.

The Carr Fire has charred almost 34,000 hectares (84,000 acres), an area almost three times the size of San Francisco, since erupting on Monday near Redding, a city of 90,000 people about 160 miles (260 kms) north of the state capital Sacramento.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said a sixth person died as a result of the Carr Fire, during an afternoon press conference. The victim's identity has not yet been released.

The Latest on fires in California (all times local):2:25 p.m. After days of fortifying the areas around Redding, fire crews were increasingly confident that the city would escape further damage.

Police in Redding have had 11 reports of missing people, but Sgt Todd Cogle said many of them simply may not have contacted family members.

Residents in the western part of Redding who had not been under evacuation orders were caught off guard and had to flee with little notice. Gusty winds, high temperatures and dry vegetation still have the potential to spur fire growth.

In those final minutes, unable to get to his wife and their great-grandchildren, Bledsoe was able to get through on the phone. As the blaze roared west, residents of the Trinity County town of Lewiston also were ordered to evacuate.

Firefighters from various San Diego County fire departments scratch out a fire line in De Luz on Saturday.

"This was my house since I was born", he said, getting emotional.

"They say it was like a 'fire tornado, '" said Chris Corona, one man who lives in the area. "No looting on my watch".

An aircraft drops fire retardant to slow the spread of the Carr Fire, west of Redding, California, U.S. July 27, 2018.

More than 4,000 structures were threatened by the fire, officials said. And 150 fire engines were on the way from as far away as Florida, officials said today.

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.

The nearby town of Keswick, with a population of about 450, was reduced to ash. A heavy haze hung low over the water, where some of the docked boats had melted.

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

Melody Bledsoe, 70, is believed to have become stranded in her home along with five-year-old James Roberts and his four-year-old sister Emily.

Jeremy Stoke, a fire inspector with the Redding Fire Department, died Thursday, the Redding firefighters union said.

The fire burned over the operator and his equipment, making him the second bulldozer operator killed in a California blaze in less than two weeks.

Bulldozer operator Don Ray Smith, 81, was killed while clearing debris for the firefighting effort when his position was overrun by the flames.

Three firefighters and an unknown number of civilians had burns, but the extent of their injuries was not immediately known, McLean said.

A burned out vehicle sits in front of a wildfire-ravaged home in Redding, California.

Yosemite Valley remained closed to visitors and will not reopen until Friday.

One of those, the Ferguson Fire, 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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