Death Toll Mounts as Wildfires Rage Across California

31 July, 2018, 09:41 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Massive Wildfire Spreads To 80,000 Acres Scorches Homes Near Redding CA

The fire slowed down somewhat Sunday night, giving fire officials hope that they could start to get some control over the blaze that has now burned 98,724 acres and is 20 percent contained.

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

Bledsoe's grandaughter, 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. They died when the Carr Fire, one of nine major wildfires burning across California, engulfed their home.

The California Department of Insurance said that evacuation costs may be covered under insurance policies, explaining that "Thousands of residents forced to evacuate may have homeowner or renter insurance coverage to help with evacuation and relocation costs, even if their homes are not damaged or destroyed, and in many cases no deductible is required".

At a news conference Sunday, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said the victim, who was not identified, didn't evacuate despite receiving an evacuation warning.

"My babies are dead", Sherry Bledsoe said as she cried with family members after meeting with sheriff's deputies, the Associated Press reported. Two other towns with about 5,000 people were also under mandatory evacuation.

Nearly 3,400 firefighters battling the Carr fire have begun to gain control of it, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

"We have seen really extremely explosive fire behavior on this particular fire, but it's not unique anymore to what we are seeing on fires in California", Cal Fire's Anthony said.

The fire was just 17 percent contained, however, and there was no end in sight to the blazing heat blamed for "firenadoes" - twisting, whirlwinds of flame and ash.


"We are finding it is more the state-based ones - in particular [those from] the South East and the Port Lincoln area ... that are the ones who will probably have the beneficial skills that the United States [is] searching for", Mr Williamson said.

A firefighter died when he was struck by a tree as he worked on the front line of a huge fire near California's Yosemite National Park on Sunday.

Melody Bledsoe's husband, Ed Bledsoe, said he had gone to get supplies when his house caught fire. The fire has prompted the closure of the most iconic areas of Yosemite National Park, which will reopen to all visitors August 3, officials said.

The authorities warn that Red Flag conditions are expected to continue through Monday, with winds still strong and hot conditions, hence the Carr fire is expected to continue its spread.

Jul 30, 2018; Redding, CA, USA; Firefighters monitor fire movement as it crosses Highway 299 just west of Buckhorn Summit near the Trinity County line.

"He's saying, 'grandpa, please, you've got to come and help us, the fire is at the back door, '" Bledsoe told CBS Sacramento. "We are simply not getting a break".

The Carr Fire broke out last Monday near a small California community called Shasta.

The nearby town of Keswick, with a population of about 450, was reduced to cinders, and two firefighters were killed.

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

Fanned by gusts of up to 60 miles per hour and fueled by dried-out vegetation, the fire more than doubled in size between Friday and Saturday, according to Cal Fire.

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