Redding firefighter dies battling massive Carr Fire in Shasta County
27 July, 2018, 23:43 | Author: Bennie Parsons
One person was killed in a rapidly moving wildfire that sent residents fleeing from a northern California city on Friday as flames burned homes and businesses and knocked out power, fire officials said. Flames swept through the communities of Shasta and Keswick before jumping the Sacramento River and reaching Redding, a city of about 90,000 people - the largest in the region.
"This fire is extremely unsafe and is moving with no regard to what's on its path", Cal Fire Incident Commander Chief Brett Gouvea told reporters.
The Cranston Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest has now burned 4,700 acres, destroying 5 homes, and is just 5% contained.
A bulldozer operator was killed in the so-called Carr Fire, a blaze in Shasta County that has tripled in size in the last two days to 28,000 acres (11,300 hectares), the state's forestry and fire protection department said.
The Carr Fire burned across a stretch of California about two hours south of the OR border.
"This fire is extremely unsafe and moving with no regard to what's in its path", Cal Fire Chief Brett Gouvea said.
"When it hit, people were really scrambling", McLean said.
More than 1,700 firefighters have been trying to control the blaze since it broke out Monday but hot and windy conditions continue fueling it, officials said.
The California National Guard has stepped in to help to contain the blaze.
A total of 15 structures have been destroyed with a further 500 threatened as the erratic flames move closer to communities.
Residents were evacuated to a nearby college and elementary school, and a local ABC news station stopped covering the fire in order to evacuate. "We ask everyone to heed evacuation orders and leave promptly". Late Thursday, the city said its electric utility would be shutting down power to most of north Redding at the request of fire authorities "and to maintain system stability due to multiple line outages".
Medics and hospital staff have been directly impacted by the fire.
He said the hospital was preparing high-risk patients to be evacuated but there were no immediate plans to do so.
Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency and ordered California's Office of Emergency Services to provide government assistance to Riverside County, and suspended a one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits for those unemployed as a result of the Cranston Fire.
Officials said they had dispatched more than 1,700 fire personnel, including dozens of fire crews, more than 100 fire engines along with bulldozers, helicopters and vehicles to deliver water.
The blaze, which is raging west of the park, has burned 44,223 acres and is 27% contained, the US Forest Service said.
"Really we're in a life-saving mode right now in Redding", said Jonathan Cox, battalion chief with Cal Fire.
A man was in custody for questioning in the Cranston Fire that might have been intentionally set. CBS affiliate KFMB-TV reported that the Riverside Sheriff's station was conducting evacuations of Idyllwild, the Apple Canyon area, the Lake Hemet area, Mountain Center Community, the Hurkey Creek area and Camp Scherman Girl Scout Camp.
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