International
0

Fatal Wildfire Rips Through California Towns

Fatal Wildfire Rips Through California TownsFatal Wildfire Rips Through California Towns

An explosive wildfire tore through two small Northern California communities Thursday before reaching the city of Redding, killing a bulldozer operator on the fire lines, burning three firefighters, destroying dozens of homes and forcing thousands of terrified residents to flee.

Flames swept through the communities of Shasta and Keswick before jumping the Sacramento River and reaching Redding, a city of about 92,000 people and the largest in the region, reported AP.

The so-called Carr Fire is "taking down everything in its path," said Scott McLean, a CalFire spokesman for the crews battling the blaze. "It's just a wall of flames," he said.

Residents of western Redding who had not been under evacuation orders were caught off guard and had to flee with little notice, causing miles-long traffic jams as flames turned the skies orange.

"When it hit, people were really scrambling," McLean said. "There was not much of a warning."

Many firefighters turned their focus from the flames to getting people out alive. "Really we're in a life-saving mode right now in Redding," said Jonathan Cox, battalion chief with Cal Fire. "We're not fighting a fire. We're trying to move people out of the path of it because it is now deadly and it is now moving at speeds and in ways we have not seen before in this area."

Some residents drove to hotels or the homes of family members in safer parts of California, while other evacuees poured into a shelter just outside of town.

Late Thursday, crews found the body of a bulldozer operator who was hired privately to clear vegetation in the blaze's path, McLean said.

The fire burned over the operator and his equipment, making the man the second bulldozer operator killed in a California blaze in less than two weeks.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints

Financialtribune.com