Thankful fawn licks officer after rescue from California wildfires

31 July, 2018, 09:45 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Burned out properties are seen near the Lake Keswick Estates area during the Carr Fire in Redding Calif

A raging wildfire in northern California that has devoured entire neighborhoods killed two children and their great-grandmother, who had covered them with a wet blanket in a futile effort to save them, officials and family members said.

Officials were feeling "optimistic" on Sunday as firefighters finally began gaining ground on the blaze. They added the individual had not complied with an evacuation order.

At least seven people were still missing in Shasta County, California, as shifting winds, dry fuel and steep terrain helped the monstrous fire engulf nearly 100,000 acres by Sunday night, authorities said.

Mendocino County Undersheriff Matthew Kendall said about 1,000 residents had been ordered from their homes in his county.

Melody Bledsoe and her two great-grandchildren, 4-year-old Emily and 5-year-old James, were confirmed dead on Saturday after the Carr fire engulfed their home. Since last week tens of thousands of people have fled the path of the Carr fire, the most destructive of the fires.

Last year, a fast-moving series of fires in Santa Rosa, just north of San Francisco, and elsewhere in Northern California killed 44 people and destroyed more than 8,000 structures.

Bledsoe said even though the family was not told to evacuate, he feels more guilty than angry.

Exhausted and hungry, some 12,000 firefighters are working 24-hour shifts battling deadly California wildfires and becoming resigned to fire seasons that start earlier, burn longer and unleash increasingly unpredictable blazes.

More than 3,400 firefighters have been sent out- but the local fire department has warned that hot, dry weather is forecast for the rest of the week, and could make the blaze worse.




"We are well ahead of the fire activity we saw past year, " Tolmachoff said.

The Ferguson Fire, located in the foothills west of Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest, has consumed over 56,000 acres and is 30% contained as of Monday.

But helped by calmer winds, fire crews had carved buffer lines around 23 percent of its perimeter by late Monday, up from just 5 percent during much of the past week. The sheriff cited evidence that door-to-door notifications were made in the area.

Bledsoe said he did not know his home was in danger when he left his wife and great-grandchildren to run an errand on Thursday.

Authorities in California have reported levels of fire intensity and unpredictability they have seldom seen before, as a result of a volatile mix of drought-parched vegetation, triple-digit temperatures and erratic winds. "There's a finite number of resources in California, and obviously we're employing them at the highest-priority incidents", Cox said.

Hughes says he and about five of his neighbors chose to protect their homes against fire and looters, despite an evacuation text alert they got Sunday evening. "They're that important to me", Bledsoe said. Fire officials also said fire crews were spread thin because of other major fires throughout the region.

The nearby town of Keswick, with a population of about 450, was reduced to cinders. So she and her mother decided to make breakfast burritos for him and other hungry CalFire crews who were coming off the night shift after trying to contain the Carr Fire in Redding.

In addition to maps of California fires now burning, here are some statistics and information on major current California wildfires. Those fires had burned almost 100 square miles (260 square kilometers).

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