Deadly California wildfire kills 8, destroys over 650 homes

APTOPIX California Wildfires

Whilst California firefighters were gaining ground on a massive blaze that has killed six people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses, they are also warning that "more deadly, more destructive fires are happening more often and it's obviously requiring additional resources".

The fire was among 17 significant blazes in the state on Sunday that had forced roughly 50,000 people from their homes, including Joel Taylor, the head of Bethel Music.

About 38,000 people remained under evacuation orders Saturday and are staying with relatives or in hotels or shelters.

More than a dozen people have been reported missing, but authorities said most probably were out of touch with friends and neighbors.

Mendocino County Undersheriff Matthew Kendall says 1,000 people were ordered to evacuate in his county.

Her two children, 5-year-old James Roberts and 4-year-old Emily Roberts, were stranded with their great-grandmother, Melody Bledsoe, 70, when flames swept through the family's rural property Thursday on the outskirts of Redding.

The Carr fire - the largest wildfire now burning - has consumed more than 95,000 acres, destroyed 874 structures - including 657 residential structures - and damaged 175 others.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told a news conference near the city of Redding at the edge of the blaze on Sunday one more person had been killed in a residence consumed by fire, bringing the total to six, including two firefighters.

"Nothing. Absolutely not a word", Bledsoe said, adding, "Nobody told us nothing". Other victims included two children and two firefighters.

Wilkolak said the fire has moved toward less densely populated areas west and northwest of Redding, California, where the Bledsoes lived.

Nearly 3,400 firefighters battling the Carr fire have begun to gain control of it, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

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The sheriff has said the fire was moving fast, but authorities still alerted residents in a variety of ways, including going door-to-door and using loudspeakers on emergency vehicles.

The Carr Fire continues to rage, though it is now 20% contained, which refers to how much of a control line has been constructed around a fire to keep it from jumping major roadways and igniting new areas of land. The sheriff says there is evidence that door-to-door notifications were made in the area.

A firefighter died when he was struck by a tree as he worked on the front line of a huge fire near California's Yosemite National Park on Sunday.

Bledsoe said he received a phone call from his wife 15 minutes later saying he needed to get home because the fire was approaching. As Washington Post meteorologist Angela Fritz wrote, several conditions - including a hotter-than-average summer with triple-digit temperatures and a very dry winter - are feeding the inferno.

"We are well ahead of the fire activity we saw previous year", she said.

Officials said one of the people who was killed ignored evacuation orders.

"I can tell you we are making great strides every day", Gouvea said.

Officials said the Carr Fire was about 23 percent contained of late Monday.

In addition to maps of California fires now burning, here are some statistics and information on major current California wildfires.

A fire truck drives along Highway 299 as the Carr fire continues to burn near Whiskeytown, California on Saturday. The fire grew slightly Sunday to 139 square miles (360 square kilometers).

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