California Wildfire Destroys 500 Structures, Levels a Community
In the small northern California community of Keswick, just a few of homes remain.
So are about 37,000 people who remain under evacuation orders Friday. Nearly 5,000 homes in the area were being threatened by the 75-sqm (194-sqk) blaze, which is now only 5% contained.
Thousands of people scrambled to escape before the walls of flames descended from forested hills onto their neighborhoods Thursday.
Residents who gathered their belongings in haste described a chaotic and congested getaway as the embers blew up to a mile ahead of flames and the fire leaped across the wide Sacramento River and torched subdivisions in Redding.
Redding Police Chief Roger Moore was among those who lost their homes.
The fire, which created at least 2 flaming tornados that toppled trees, shook firefighting equipment and busted truck windows, took “down everything in its path,” said Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire, the state agency responsible for fighting wildfires.
Already, 2 firefighters have been killed in the blaze, Redding fire inspector Jeremy Stoke and a bulldozer operator. He is the 2nd bulldozer operator killed in a California blaze in less than 2 weeks.
Fire officials warned that the blaze would probably burn deeper into urban areas before there was any hope of containing it, though it either changed direction or was stopped before it could burn into the core of the city.
Elsewhere in the State of California
Large fires continued to burn outside Yosemite National Park and in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs.
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