Massive wall of flames ripping through California
A massive wall of flames ripping through California, leaving one dead and dozens injured, is now heading towards 90,000 residents as firefighters battle to stop it.
A bulldozer operator was killed in the so-called Carr Fire, a large blaze in the eastern Shasta County, which has now exploded in size within days of spreading across 28,000 acres.
Dozens of firefighters and residents are believed to injured, the official figure is still yet to be released.
According to The Mirror: A number of homes and businesses have already been burned to the ground in Redding, which has a population of just over 90,000.
The blaze has raged across the Sacramento River and now threatens hundreds of homes on the western fringes of the city – forcing tens of thousands to flee.
Cal Fire said the blaze started on Monday caused by a mechanical failure of a vehicle.
It then grew over Thursday night, ravaging several small communities as it began burning into Redding, a city around 120 miles south of the California-Oregon border.
“This fire is extremely dangerous and is moving with no regard to what’s on its path,” Cal Fire Incident Commander Chief Brett Gouvea told reporters.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott McLean told the Sacramento Bee newspaper:
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“The fire is moving so fast that law enforcement is doing evacuations as fast as we can.
“There have been some injuries to civilians and firefighters.
“It’s way too dynamic and burning quickly.”
Local and state fire officials were not available to confirm details of injuries or the extent of damage.
Roads out of the city were jammed with motorists trying to escape the flames, social media postings showed.
Two residents who chose not to leave were 61-year-old Rob Wright and his wife, who planned to fight off flames from approaching their house with a high-powered water hose.
“We were fortunate enough that the wind changed about hours ago and it is pushing the fire back,” said Wright, at about 1.15am local time.
“We are just waiting it out…crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.”
“Right now they’re doing what they can, they’re trying to make a stand where they can, if possible,” McLean said: “It’s extreme. It’s blowing up off and on again.”
McLean added that the wildfire was in an area of rolling hills and not in “house-to-house neighborhoods.”
Video footage and images posted on social media showed flames engulfing structures as an orange glow lit up the night sky.
Residents were evacuated to a nearby college and elementary school and a local ABC news station stopped covering the fire in order to evacuate.
The Mercy Medical Center in Redding evacuated its neonatal intensive care unit, it said in a statement.
Multiple power outages were reported, the city said on its website, adding that the electric utility was shutting off power in its northern areas.
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Shasta and Riverside Counties on Thursday over the Carr and Cranston fires.