California wildfire claims lives of great-grandmother, two children and firefighters

Justin Sullivan

Meanwhile, crews attacking the Carr fire in and around Redding said they had located another body - the fourth civilian to perish in that blaze - and reported that hundreds more structures were destroyed.

Farther north, police said five people were arrested on suspicion of entering areas evacuated due to the explosive wildfire around Redding.

Seven other people are reported missing, Sheriff Bosenko said, adding that 600 National Guard soldiers had been deployed for support duties such as roadblocks. Other victims included two children and two firefighters. "Grandma did everything she could to save them", Bledsoe's granddaughter, Amanda Woodley, wrote in a Facebook post after Shasta County Sheriff's officials confirmed the deaths to relatives.

"She got a wet blanket and put one on her".

The children's mother, Sherry Bledsoe, was quoted by the Sacramento Bee as saying: "My kids are deceased". "That's all I have to say".

The so-called Carr Fire that affected Redding - a city of about 92,000 people - was ignited by a vehicle problem on Monday about 16 kilometres west of the city.

A Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park firefighter, identified as Capt. Brian Hughes, died fighting the Ferguson Fire after he was struck and killed by a tree Sunday, according to a statement from the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Head here for the latest information on the Carr Fire, as well as for a full list of evacuation information.

By Saturday evening, the fire had grown to 83,800 acres and was only 5 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

"These are extreme conditions. we need to take heed and evacuate, evacuate, evacuate". "So that is all complicated by the fact that we still have triple-digit temperatures right now and a really thick smoke inversion, which slows down our ability to get aircraft in the air because of visibility".

In addition to the Carr Fire, more than a dozen other large wildfires are burning throughout California, stretching resources.

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The Redding Police Department said in a press release Monday that once residents return to their homes, some may find that their houses have been looted.

The fire doubled in size Saturday, growing to more than 83,800 acres while putting residents and firefighters in harm's way.

On Saturday, President Trump issued a federal emergency declaration for California.

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

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

Greg and Terri Hill evacuated their Redding home of 18 years Thursday night with little more than medications, photo albums, clothes and firearms, assuming they'd be back home in a few days.

A Go Fund Me effort, launched overnight to help Ed Bledsoe, had raised nearly half its $30,000 goal by midday Sunday.

The GoFundMe page said the couple had been caring for their two great-grandchildren for years.

So far this year, wildfires have scorched nearly 1.7 million hectares across the United States, crossing the 1.5-million-hectare average for the same period in the last decade.

Around 12,000 firefighters battled Sunday to contain wildfires in California that have killed six people - but authorities warned "erratic" winds and dry conditions have caused the flames to grow and spread.

One of the California fires prompted a rare closure of much of Yosemite National Park last week, while another forced mass evacuations from the mountain resort community of Idyllwild, east of Los Angeles.

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