No Pinoys affected so far in Northern California wildfire: DFA

Charlene Craig
July 30, 2018

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

About 160 kilometres northeast, officials near Redding struck a hopeful tone for the first time in days as a massive fire slowed following days of explosive growth.

CalFire Director Ken Pimlott described the fire activity at a news conference on Friday as nearly like a "tornado". Another person was found after the fire consumed another home in Shasta County, Sheriff Tom Bosenko said in a Sunday news conference. The victim's identity has not yet been released.

Law enforcement officials are now trying to locate 17 people reported missing, but noted that the number of missing has fluctuated in recent days as new people are reported missing and others located, Redding Police Sergeant Todd Cogle said by telephone.

A resident of French Gulch, west of Redding, said she had two hours to evacuate, but some people had only 30 minutes.

The setting sun is turned red by the smoke from the Carr Fire burning in the hills west of Redding, Calif., July 27, 2018. On Thursday, it swept through the historic Gold Rush town of Shasta and nearby Keswick fueled by gusty winds and dry vegetation. It exploded Thursday, jumped the Sacramento River and entered the Redding city limits. It has already burnt more than 48,000 acres (194 sq km) of land and destroyed at least 500 structures.

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"There are just places were there should not be subdivisions", said Kurt Henke, a former fire chief in Sacramento who now serves as a consultant to fire organizations.

More than 4,000 structures were threatened by the fire, officials said.

The Carr Fire destroyed almost all of Keswick, a hamlet just west of Redding, which is about 250 miles north of San Francisco.

They say the blazes are threatening more than 350 buildings. But then he composed himself.

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

Decker took the day off work Friday and drove his motorcycle to the home to look for members of the family but only found the smoldering remains of the house. He said his crew would be looking for anything salvageable, but there was little left standing.

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Police have yet to confirm the new fatalities, but CBS San Francisco quoted Sherry Bledsoe on Saturday as saying her son and daughter and her grandmother died in the fire that tore through Redding.

While he was out, his 70-year-old wife, Melody Bledsoe, called and told him she could see the fire and that he needed to come get her and their great-grandchildren, 4-year-old Emily Roberts and 5-year-old James Roberts, who Ed Bledsoe called "Junior".

Firefighters and police "went into life-safety mode", hustling door to door to usher civilians out of harm's way, said Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire).

By this afternoon, the fire was 5 percent contained.

"What we're seeing with some of the most risky fires is that they're spreading quickly, burning very hot or producing their own weather", he said. They've been identified as bulldozer operator Don Ray Smith, of Pollock Pines and Redding fire Inspector Jeremy Stoke. "The blaze also killed two fire workers, Cal Fire said, while another - the Ferguson Fire - killed another firefighter". Thousands of firefighter are battling the blaze, and 17 helicopters are dropping water in an attempt to dampen the fires. For the Fire Chief, conditions are unsafe: "Extreme is not even the right adjective to use any more it is just an understatement because fire is so explosive now in California". "I was trying to get to them, I was trying to get to the fire".

Wildfire Today posted a video of what is referred to as a "fire tornado' that roared down from Keswick Dam just north of Redding to destroy over 125 homes on Friday".

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