Thousands Of Firefighters Battle 17 ‘Significant’ Fires Across Calif.

Hannah Rogers
July 30, 2018

"My babies are dead", Sherry Bledsoe said through tears after she and family members met with Shasta County sheriff's deputies Saturday.

"We're feeling a lot more optimistic today as we're starting to gain some ground rather than being in a defensive mode on this fire all the time", said Bret Gouvea, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's incident commander on the blaze around Redding, a city about 230 miles (370 kilometres) north of San Francisco.

"My sympathy goes out to the family", Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said.

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.

The fire grew slightly to 131 square miles (340 square kilometers) Saturday. The United Way of Northern California has established a Shasta County Fire Relief Fund. Northwest Redding saw single-digit relative humidity, winds up to 13 miles per hour and temperatures of 102 degrees, with a Heat Index of 108 on Friday. Unfortunately the fire spread and we no longer have a home but I'm just glad i still have my family safe. would really appreciate some prayers.

"It's burning in every direction all at the same time", said Cal Fire Chief Steve Crawford.

The Searchlight reported that early this morning that more homes are burning northeast of the city due to erratic and unpredictable wind gusts.

The fire, which started on Monday, also killed Don Ray Smith, an 81-year-old bulldozer operator who was working with fire crews to try to bring the fire under control, officials said.

"With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Fire Inspector Jeremy Stoke", the Redding Fire Department said in a statement. A count by The Associated Press found at least 300 of those structures were homes.

He also said his family was never told to evacuate.

The fire has destroyed more than 500 buildings and is threatening thousands more.

Devastating photos show the impact of deadly wildfires in Athens
Civil Protection Spokesman Spyros Georgiou told The Associated Press that the formal request would be made later Monday. Official Niko Papaefstathiou told state television the two victims were taken to an Athens hospital early Tuesday.

At least six civilians and two firefighters were killed and over 650 homes were destroyed as a massive wildfire engulfed a large part of forest in California.

President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for California on Saturday, allowing counties affected by wildfires to receive federal assistance.

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.

In the Redding area, authorities were investigating reports of looting in evacuated areas. Police Chief Roger Moore said people were reportedly driving around evacuation zones and breaking down doors of houses still standing. National Guard troops also were called in to assist at roadblocks.

Mike Theune, a spokesman for the so-called Ferguson Fire, said the firefighter was treated for injuries at the scene Sunday but died before he could be hospitalized. More than 38,000 people remained under evacuation orders on Sunday in and around the city of Redding, about 160 miles (257 km) north of the state capital Sacramento.

When they returned Friday, virtually nothing was left but fine particles of ash.

"It's pretty emotional", Terri Hill said. The so-called Carr Fire roared through Shasta County, so thoroughly eating up homes, that it's hard to tell how many once stood in the ruins.

The family believed the area was not in imminent danger and Melody Bledsoe had no auto. The boy said he had to come back to the home because the flames were closing in.

Bledsoe rushed home, but was turned back by police because the fire was raging.

Steve Hobson, a former firefighter, said flames on the distant hillside looked like solar flares on the sun. The air is thick with the smell of smoke and chemicals, and the smoldering remains are still too hot to sift through. "I was trying to get to them, I was trying to get to the fire".

"We got awful news".

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER