Dry conditions, excessive heat fan flames of California wildfires

Victims of California wildfire named

Victims of California wildfire named

More than 50,000 people have been evacuated in Northern California bushfires that have killed five, including two children and their great-grandmother, as fire crews battled on to quell flames that have destroyed entire neighbourhoods.

Several other wildfires burned throughout the state on Sunday, including the River Fire in Mendocino County, which has burned 11,028 acres and destroyed four residences and one outbuilding since it began on Friday.

More than 4,500 buildings were under threat, officials said.

Fire officials warned that the blaze would probably burn deeper into urban areas before there was any hope of containing it, though it either changed direction or was stopped before it could burn into the core of the city.

The Carr Fire continued to sweep through the area in and around Redding, Calif.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said he expected to find several of those people alive and just out of touch with loved ones. The victim's identity was not released.

Bosenko says the sheriff's department has seven outstanding missing persons reports.

Firefighters discuss plans while battling the Carr Fire in Shasta, Calif., on Thursday, July 26, 2018. Gusty winds, high temperatures and dry vegetation still have the potential to spur fire growth.

Residents who gathered their belongings in haste described a chaotic and congested getaway as the embers blew up to a mile ahead of flames and the fire leaped across the wide Sacramento River and torched subdivisions in Redding, a city of 92,000 about 100 miles south of the OR border.

"It was probably the scariest thing I've ever seen", Redding Police Chief Roger Moore said of the blaze. He was finally able to shave on Saturday when his wife brought him a razor, he said.

Eight people were treated for respiratory and burn-related injuries at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, a hospital spokeswoman said Friday morning. The San Bernardino County Fire Department was called in to tamp down smoking piles of debris that were scattered around the town amid downed electricity lines.

"I think I'm still in shock", Noland said.

"They say it was like a 'fire tornado, '" said Chris Corona, one man who lives in the area. "Still out watching over the ones still standing".

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The latest tally showed at least 517 structures destroyed and another 135 damaged, Romero said. The fire had not grown inside the city limits since Saturday, Gouvea said.

"He just kept saying 'Grandpa, come and get me", Bledsoe said, referring to 5-year-old James.

Five people are now dead, as the Carr fire continues to rage in Northern California.

"However, the possibility does exist that there may be far more grave situations for some of them", Cogle said. The terrain surrounding nearby Whiskeytown Lake was burned, burning or seemingly about to burn.

Keswick, a mountain town of about 450 people, was reduced to an ashy moonscape of blackened trees and smouldering rubble. 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.

"My babies are dead, " Sherry Bledsoe said through tears after she and family members met with Shasta County sheriff's deputies.

He said the victim didn't evacuate despite receiving an evacuation warning.

It is the largest fire burning in California, threatening more than 5,000 structures. Friday afternoon the Redding Fire Department confirmed that Inspector Jeremy Stoke perished.

Jason, a firefighter, was six hours away from his home and family, battling the fire near Yosemite, when the Carr Fire moved in with devastating speed. Earlier this month, firefighter Braden Varney was killed when the bulldozer he was operating overturned while he was fighting the flames near the national park.

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

In Southern California, thousands remained evacuated as a suspected arson wildfire burned in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles.

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