Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Bulldozer operator killed in Northern California wildfire

5 Killed Including 2 Children and Their Great-Great Grandmother in California Wildfires 2 Children, Great-grandmother Die in California Wildfire
Ray Hunter | 30 July, 2018, 14:32

Melody Bledsoe's husband, Ed Bledsoe, said he had gone to get supplies when his house caught fire.

The so-called Carr Fire started burning on Monday.

Michelle Harrington, a teacher from Redding, said officials told her that she would be permitted to access her home - or, rather, what was left of it - on Sunday morning.

Fire officials said the Carr Fire in particular has burned with an "unprecedented" intensity and unpredictable progression that has confounded them.

A deadly Northern California wildfire that destroyed hundreds of homes in and around the city of Redding expanded into more rural areas Saturday where scorching heat, winds and bone-dry conditions complicated firefighting efforts.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told a news conference near the city of Redding at the edge of the blaze on Sunday one more person had been killed in a residence consumed by fire, bringing the total to six, including two firefighters. Earlier Saturday, a California family confirmed two young children and their great grandmother died from the fire. "I couldn't smell death in the air, which is good". Those fires had burned almost 260 square kilometres. "More people living in high fire risk areas than usual".

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

The conditions the firefighters are facing are unprecedented, a mix of "incredibly hot temperatures, steep terrain and heavy wind". "This fire is moving, at times, three or four different directions". The blaze in Ventura two months later destroyed more than 500 buildings. A count by The Associated Press found at least 300 of those structures were homes. Residents in neighboring Benmore Valley were also told to leave Saturday.

The Carr fire - the largest wildfire now burning - has consumed more than 89,000 acres, destroyed 517 structures and damaged 135 others.

President Donald Trump signed a declaration of emergency for California yesterday, authorizing federal emergency aid for response efforts in areas affected by wildfires.

"We've had 17 fires before", Cox said.

A big fire continued to burn in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs, but officials lifted evacuation orders for several communities after reporting significant progress by firefighters.

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Like the fires in Santa Rosa and Ventura past year, wind was a major contributor to the blaze's spread.

In the Sierra Nevada, famed Yosemite National Park closed Wednesday as smoke from a fire to the west cast a pall on the region.

There are 89 large wildfires blazing across 14 U.S. states, mostly in the West, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Wildfires have scorched nearly 4.3 million acres (1.7 million hectares) across the country so far this year, less than last year but more than the 3.7 million-acre (1.5 million-hectare) average for the same period over the last decade.

Search crews, meanwhile, sifted through the ashes of what used to be the family's neighbourhood in Redding, California, looking for something much worse. One of the homes lost belonged to Shyla and Jason Campbell. "Jeremy died while battling the Carr Fire", the union said on Twitter.

"It's huge flames, it's coming up the hill, and everyone's out and we're watching it, then it goes down, and everyone's like, 'Oh it's going out, ' " said Shyla, 32.

The family spent the night at a hotel.

Ed Bledsoe rushed home, but was turned back by police.

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.

"I said 'I'm on my way.' So I just throwed down everything and took off", he said.

I just had to evacuate my house due to mandatory evacuation as our city of Redding, CA is on fire.

"If we don't arrest them for looting, they will be arrested for something else", Redding Police Chief Roger Moor said.

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