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Massive Northern California fire becomes even greater

RESCUE, California. – Firefighters are battling a huge wildfire in Northern California kept, do more damage to the city of Redding, but three smaller communities were in danger if fire were closed, and residents packed up to leave.

The fire grew by approximately 35 percent during the night 127 square kilometers (328 square miles) and pushed in the southwest of Redding, in the direction of the communities of Ono, Igo and Gas Point. The wind aided firefighters in keeping the fire of the more populated areas were, and that they it forward at a frightening pace.

“We’re not getting a break with the weather,” said Chris Anthony, a spokesman for Cal Fire, the state body responsible for fighting forest fires. “It’s just really hot, very dry, and we remain for those who wind. … This fire is so big and there are so many different components.”

The so-called Carr Fire was ignited Monday by a vehicle and exploded on Thursday night, jumped in the Sacramento River and pushed in Redding, about 250 miles (402 km) north of San Francisco and the largest city in the region and more than 92,000 inhabitants. Two firefighters killed and the last measurement of the 500 destroyed structures, it is sure to rise. Approximately 37,000 people are under evacuation orders of 5,000 homes are threatened and the fire is only 5 percent contained.

Elsewhere in California, large fires continued to burn outside Yosemite National Park and the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs. Nationally, 89 active large fires have consumed nearly 930,000 hectares in 14 countries, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. So far this year, nearly 37,000 forest fires have burned more than 4.25 million hectares.

The Carr Fire destroyed almost all of Keswick, a village just west of Redding. One of the homes lost belonged to Shyla and Jason Campbell.

Jason, a firefighter, a half-hour drive from his home and family against a wildfire near Yosemite Valley, when the Carr Fire moved in with devastating speed.

“It is a tremendous fire, which comes on top of the hill, and everyone, and we’re watching it, then it goes down, and everyone is like” Oh, it is going out,’ ” said Shyla, 32. “And I said, ‘No, it goes down the mountain and it’s going to come back to the next hill.” “

She was right.

The family spent the night in a hotel. When Jason Campbell returned on Friday, he found their home of five years was gone, along with an RV and a boat.

“It is difficult,” Shyla Campbell said Friday as they sheltered in the city of Shasta Lake. “I need to figure out where we’re going to stay. We are just trying to stay away from the fire.”

Thousands of people scrambled to escape, in the midst of flying sparks before the walls of the flames that descended from the wooded hills in their neighborhoods Thursday. At least two burning tornadoes toppled trees, shook the fire-extinguishing and broken truck, “everything in its path,” said Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire.

The flames so quickly that firefighters working in the oven-like temperatures and dry conditions to drop efforts to battle the blaze at a given time to help people escape. Two firefighters killed: Rescue fire inspector Jeremy Stoke, and a bulldozer operator whose name was not immediately released. He was the second bulldozer operator to die in a California blaze in less than two weeks.

Residents gathered belongings in a hurry described a chaotic and busy getaway as sparks flew and the fire jumped over the broad Sacramento River, arson breaks in Redding.

Redding police chief Roger Moore was one of the people who lost their homes.

Greg and Terri Hill evacuated their Salvation house of 18 years Thursday night with little more than their medications, photo albums, clothing and firearms, assuming that they would be back home in a few days.

When they returned to work Friday, almost nothing remained, but the fine particles of ash. It was so hot, that she could not walk by it to see if something survived.

“It’s pretty emotional,” Terri Hill said. “I know it’s just stuff. A lot of memories. But we make new memories and new stuff. Everyone is safe.”

The Hills fled before they were told, knowing the danger, had failed when the power went out and helicopters suddenly began to fly low overhead.

Liz Williams has a load capacity of up to two children in her car and finds herself trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic with the neighbors trying to flee from Lake Redding Estates.

Eventually jumped the curb on a sidewalk and “booked.”

“I have never experienced something so horrible in my life,” she said. “I didn’t know if the fire was just to jump behind a bush and grab me and suck me.”

Fire officials warned that the fire would probably burn deeper in urban areas, even before there is any hope that it contains. So far, the Carr Fire has changed direction, or stopped before the fires of Salvation in the centre of the city.

___

Gill reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writers Noah Berger in Salvation; Olga Rodriguez and Janie Har in San Francisco; Don Thompson in Sacramento; Amanda Lee Myers, Brian Melley and John Antczak in Los Angeles; and Alina Hartounian in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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