A raging wildfire in Northern California grew dramatically on Thursday and Friday, killing at least two people battling the blaze, forcing scores of residents from their homes, destroying more than a dozen buildings and threatening thousands more reports the Washington Post.
“This fire is extremely dangerous and moving with no regard to what’s in its path,” Cal Fire Chief Brett Gouvea said.
The Carr Fire’s growth has been explosive. On Thursday morning, the blaze was burning across 20,000 acres, fire officials said. By Friday morning, it had more than doubled in size, spreading across an area the size of the District of Columbia. The fire agency warned that weather conditions included forecasts calling for high temperatures and ongoing dry weather.
Authorities said 65 structures had been destroyed, 55 more damaged and nearly 5,000 were threatened. Cal Fire said the blaze began Monday afternoon and was caused by “mechanical failure of vehicle,” although the agency did not elaborate.
At least two personnel were killed, authorities said. A firefighter from the city of Redding was killed as a result of the Carr Fire, California officials said in a statement Friday. The firefighter would not be identified until the next of kin was notified, and authorities did not release further details. A privately hired bulldozer operator was killed while battling the wildfire, Cal Fire reported, although this person was also not immediately identified while their next of kin was contacted.
The Carr Fire burned across a stretch of California about two hours south of the Oregon border. In Redding, which is home to about 91,000 people, officials ordered some residents to evacuate and warned others to remain vigilant. Authorities urged other residents in nearby areas to evacuate and said more evacuation orders could follow.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) declared a state of emergency in Shasta County, warning that Carr fire “continues to threaten critical infrastructure” and saying that “high temperatures, low humidity, and erratic winds have further increased the spread of this fire.”
Brown had also declared emergencies in other counties as the state battled multiple raging fires. The Ferguson Fire, which forced officials to close the Yosemite Valley through at least the weekend, had burned across more than 45,000 acres and was 29 percent contained as of Friday morning. The Cranston Fire in Riverside County had burned across 11,500 acres and was 3 percent contained at the same time, officials said.