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2nd firefighter dies battling California wildfires

30 July 2018

Two children and their great-grandmother were among the five killed in a Northern California wildfire as fire crews battled on to quell flames that have destroyed entire neighborhoods.

Firefighters anxious that high winds could fan the flames even further. "We still have a lot of open line", he said. "Any event could bring this back up again".

The challenges facing firefighters are among the most hard they could encounter: steep terrain and hot weather combined with dry brush and other vegetation that can fuel a fire, said Greg Bertelli, an incident commander at Cal Fire.

Anna Noland, 49, was evacuated twice in three days before learning through video footage that the house she last saw under dark and windy skies had burned.

"The family that lives in town are all together mourning 3 fantastic souls", Woodley wrote.

"That's what bothers me the most", Franceschine said. "It's just unbelievable knowing you don't have a house to go back to".

Noland is among the 38,000 people evacuated after the Carr Fire roared into the outskirts of Redding in Shasta County, leaving six people dead, including an unidentified person, two firefighters, a woman and her two great-grandchildren, ages 4 and 5.

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The children's mother, Sherry Bledsoe, was quoted by the newspaper as saying, "My kids are deceased, that's all I can say", as she left the sheriff's office on Saturday.

And due to the ongoing fire-fighting efforts, the City of Redding and the California Division of Drinking Water request that all City of Redding residents and businesses, especially those not directly affected by the fire, please conserve water.

The Carr Fire destroyed almost all of Keswick, a hamlet just west of Redding. The flames were just 5 percent contained.

At least 517 buildings have been destroyed and a further 135 damaged, according to the latest figures. A count by The Associated Press found more than 300 homes destroyed.

Family members said Melody Bledsoe, 70, and her two great-grandchildren 5-year-old James Roberts and 4-year-old Emily Roberts were alone on the family's rural property outside of Redding Thursday when walls of flames engulfed the home.

The three bodies have yet to be positively identified, but their discovery raises the confirmed death toll from the Carr Fire to five, including a bulldozer operator and a firefighter who was killed when the blaze swept into Redding, about 160 miles north of Sacramento, two days ago.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said he expected to find several of those people alive and just out of touch with loved ones.

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Bosenko said authorities are still looking for seven people after finding nine others who had been reported missing.

Wildfires around the state have forced roughly 50,000 people from their homes, said Lynne Tolmachoff, a Cal Fire spokeswoman.

"Jeremy died while battling the Carr Fire", the union posted on Twitter. At least two flaming tornados toppled trees, shook firefighting equipment and busted truck windows, taking "down everything in its path", said Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire.

Authorities said they were also struggling with the loss. The weather service notes that "spreading is not driven by the wind, but rather the fire itself", meaning the rising of hot air and gases inside the fire creates a wind that feeds it.

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.

A big fire continued to burn in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs, but officials lifted evacuation orders for several communities after reporting significant progress by firefighters.

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2nd firefighter dies battling California wildfires