Two killed, at least 500 structures destroyed by deadly Northern California fire

A structure burns as the Carr Fire tears through Shasta, Calif., Thursday, July 26, 2018. Fueled by high temperatures, wind and low humidity, the blaze destroyed multiple homes and at least one historic building. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Firefighters say 500 structures have been destroyed in a raging Northern California wildfire and another 5,000 are threatened.

Cal Fire released the updated figure Friday, though the number of homes burned in the so-called Carr Fire is expected to increase.

Earlier Friday, fire officials said 65 structures had been destroyed by the fast-moving blaze in Shasta County.

Injuries and loss of life


Two people have been killed in the fire, including a firefighter.

The Redding Firefighters Union identified one of their members killed as Jeremy Stoke, a fire inspector.

"Jeremy died while battling the Carr Fire. We ask for your thoughts and prayers for his family and the RFD as we process this tragic loss," the union wrote on its Facebook page.

Stoke was the second victim in the fire. Crews on Thursday found the body of a bulldozer operator who was hired privately to clear vegetation in the fire's path.

Officials said the fire burned over the operator as he worked to try to contain the blaze.

Three firefighters with the Marin County Fire Department were injured when they were hit by a "sudden blast of heat" while defending buildings in the area. All three were treated at Mercy Medical Center in Redding and released. One of them will be evaluated at U.C. Davis Burn Center in Sacramento.

Several other people have been treated at hospitals for fire related injuries and respiratory problems.

Evacuations


Mandatory evacuations were extended overnight Thursday to include the City of Shasta Lake, which has about 10,000 residents. At this time, a total of 37,000 people have been evacuated.

Fire officials say winds fanning the deadly blaze are so strong that trees have been ripped from the ground and thrown through the air.

The Carr Fire is burning mainly near the City of Redding which has about 90,000 residents.

One resident named Jim Chapin says he got home at around 7:30 p.m. Thursday and police were there telling people to evacuate the Lake Redding Estates neighborhood.

Chapin says his wife left, but he stayed behind to hose down the roof, gutters and fallen leaves.

He says that shortly afterward, the fire was burning trees behind neighbors' homes and ferocious winds whipped up branches, burning leaves, garbage-can lids, wood and other debris.

Chapin says the streets were so jammed with traffic that there was no way for firefighters to come in.

The 79-year-old returned to the neighborhood Friday and cried when he found his home still standing.

KATU News reporter Keaton Thomas is in Redding covering the Carr Fire. Stick with him on Twitter for the latest updates.




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