Published: Tue, July 31, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

10,000 more told to leave homes as northern California wildfires intensify

10,000 more told to leave homes as northern California wildfires intensify

Fire officials say the erratic behavior of the blaze, stoked by high winds and triple-digit temperatures, has complicated efforts to contain the conflagration.

Derick Hughes II remained at his property in Nice, California, despite mandatory evacuation orders prompted by a wildfire threatening the area.

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

As the blaze roared west, residents of the Trinity County town of Lewiston also were ordered to evacuate.

Bledsoe's granddaughter, Amanda Woodley, said on Facebook the elderly woman desperately put a wet blanket over the children as their home burned.

"We just wanted to show our support for them", she said.

To the north, near Redding, California, where an unpredictable blaze killed six people, a man whose wife and two great-grandchildren were among the dead said he did not receive any warning to evacuate.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said his department did tell people living in Redding to evacuate.

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"We're just there to help", she said, adding her family would be back Monday night to hand over spaghetti.

"Fires don't stop for sleep so this is a 24-hour battle for the American firefighting forces and extra people with the specialised skills that they need will help a lot."

The wildfire was among more than a dozen in California requiring more than 10,000 firefighters and chasing 50,000 people from their homes.

Bosenko said they had not yet been positively identified but were believed to be remains of three victims identified by relatives in news media reports as 4-year-old James Roberts, his 5-year-old sister Emily and their great-grandmother, Melody Bledsoe, 70.

"We are well ahead of the fire activity we saw a year ago", Cal Fire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff told The Associated Press on Sunday. The so-called Carr Fire has twice doubled in size since it started a week ago, burning through almost 100,000 acres as of Monday.

An army of some 3,500 firefighters and a squadron of 17 water-dropping helicopters had carved buffer lines around 5 percent of the fire's 100-mile perimeter by Sunday.

The alleged burglars were tracked down and found with electronic items stacked by their front door, the sheriff's department said.

Meanwhile officials said a second firefighter died fighting a huge blaze to the south near Yosemite National Park.

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Two days later, Ed Bledsoe left to run errands, thinking his home was not in any danger, he told CBS Sacramento.

"I can tell you we are making great strides every day", Gouvea said.

Hughes says he and about five of his neighbors chose to protect their homes against fire and looters, despite an evacuation text alert they got Sunday evening. Crews have been dealing with gusty winds and hot temperatures.

The fire started Monday, its origin traced to the "mechanical failure" of a vehicle in Whiskeytown, which is about 10 miles northwest of Redding, officials said.

The nearby community of Keswick, with a population of about 450, was reduced to cinders.

Nevertheless, authorities "are very encouraged with the fire status" in Redding, said Cal Fire incident manager Bret Gouvea.

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

Head here for the latest information on the Carr Fire, as well as for a full list of evacuation information. Last December's Thomas Fire near Santa Barbara burned nearly 282,000 acres (440 square miles), becoming the largest wildfire in California history.

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