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California’s Carr Fire Surges Into City of Redding

California’s Carr Fire Surges Into City of Redding

A raging Northern California wildfire surged into the City of Redding, population about 92,000, Friday after burning dozens of homes, injuring firefighters and civilians, and engulfing and killing a bulldover operator. The situation was described as chaotic by authorities.

Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean said the Carr Fire in Shasta County is “taking everything down in its path,” having already burned dozens of homes in the communities of Shasta, Keswick and the west side of Redding Thursday night, adding that Redding residents had little warning try to evacuate.

He said the fire burned over the bulldozer operator, who was hired privately, and his equipment. He said the man’s body was found late Thursday.

Mr. McLean said 3 firefighters and an unknown number of civilians have burns but did not know the extent.

He said the situation is “very dynamic” and that it’s “a heck of a fight.”

The 45-square-mile fire that began Monday tripled in size overnight Thursday amid scorching temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials said the fire started in the Whiskeytown community, a once a vibrant and bustling mining town.

A state parks official says employees worked through the night to save historic artifacts from a Northern California Gold Rush-era museum threatened by wildfire.

Acting District Superintendent Matt Teague says he helped clear out keepsakes early Thursday from the Old Courthouse in Shasta State Historic Park.

Mr. Teague says staff and volunteers were mindful of the brightening glow of the fire burning nearby in the hills above Redding.

Mr. Teague says they almost had to abandon rescue efforts just before dawn. But the fire changed direction and they were able to work another five hours to save valuable paintings and prints.

The museum in the restored Y 1861 courthouse is the centerpiece of the park that features remains and relics from Shasta City’s days as “Queen City” of Northern California mining.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared states of emergency in Riverside and Shasta counties as fires burn on both ends of the state.

The declarations issued Thursday state that hot temperatures, erratic wind and low humidity have increased the spread of both fires.

In Southern California, thousands remained evacuated as a suspected arson wildfire burned in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles.

In the Sierra Nevada, famed Yosemite National Park closed Wednesday as smoke from a fire to the west cast a pall on the region.

Stay tuned…