2nd firefighter dies battling California wildfires

5 Killed Including 2 Children and Their Great Great Grandmother in California Wildfires

"My sympathy goes out to the family", Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said.

He asked for federal assistance, including military aircraft, shelter supplies and water for evacuated residents in Shasta County, where he said the Carr Fire had grown "uncontrollably".

Law enforcement officials are now trying to locate 17 people reported missing, but noted that the number of missing has fluctuated in recent days as new people are reported missing and others located, Redding Police Sergeant Todd Cogle said by telephone.

Crews stretched to their limits across the state are fighting flames that have claimed the lives of two firefighters and six civilians. Firefighter dies on front linesJeremy Stoke, a fire inspector with the Redding Fire Department, died Thursday night, the Redding firefighters union said.

The victims identified by relatives on Facebook and in news media reports were James Roberts, 5, his sister Emily, 4, and their great-grandmother, Melody Bledsoe, 70.

Bledsoe rushed home, but was turned back by police because the fire was raging.

A firefighter died battling that blaze, with seven people also injured. Triple-digit temperatures and dry vegetation are making it hard for crews to corral the blaze. The two fires had blackened 122 square kilometres, with minimal containment.

"There are just places were there should not be subdivisions", said Kurt Henke, a former fire chief in Sacramento who now serves as a consultant to fire organizations.

California fire officials say wildfires around the state have forced roughly 50,000 people from their homes.

About 37,000 people are under evacuation orders, 5,000 homes are threatened and the fire was just 5 percent contained. It said the elderly couple had been caring for the great-grandchildren for years in their rental home.

The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco is also checking the situation of Filipinos in Redding and surrounding areas to determine whether any of them has been affected by the so-called Carr Fire. More than 160 fire departments from California and around the country have been deployed to help quell the week-long blaze.

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Gale-force winds on Thursday night created a fire "tornado" said CalFire Director Ken Pimlott.

The Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County has burned 53,646 acres and is 30% contained.

Two fires about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest in Mendocino County have consumed 39 square miles (101 square kilometers) and destroyed four homes. Despite the efforts of 3,400 active fire personnel, the blaze is winning.

The Carr Fire, the deadliest and most destructive of almost 90 wildfires burning from Texas to OR, has charred 89,194 acres (36,095 hectares) of drought-parched vegetation since erupting last Monday.

Decker said 5-year-old James idolized his great-grandfather and wanted to wear suspenders just like him.

The conditions the firefighters are facing are unprecedented, a mix of "incredibly hot temperatures, steep terrain and heavy wind".

Residents who gathered belongings in haste described a chaotic and congested getaway as sparks flew and fire leaped across the wide Sacramento River, torching subdivisions in Redding. It has destroyed 517 buildings and damaged another 135.

Authorities also issued evacuation orders in Napa County, famous for its wine, when a fire destroyed eight structures.

At least five people are dead and more than 38,000 people displaced as firefighters work to contain the blaze.

Anna Noland, 49, was evacuated twice in three days before learning through video footage that the house she last saw under dark and windy skies had burned.

"It's exhausting", she said. It pushed southwest of Redding, the largest city in the region, toward the tiny communities of Ono, Igo and Gas Point, where scorching heat, winds and bone-dry conditions complicated firefighting efforts.

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