California blaze reaches Redding; 1 dead, firefighters injured

Updated July 26, 2018 - 11:30 pm

REDDING, Calif. — A fire official says an explosive wildfire in Northern California has killed a bulldozer operator as he fought to contain the blaze and injured three firefighters.

Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean says the Carr Fire in Shasta County burned over the bulldozer operator, who was hired privately, and his equipment. He says the man’s body was found late Thursday.

McLean says three firefighters and an unknown number of civilians have burns but didn’t know the extent.

He says the fire is “taking everything down in its path.”

The blaze has burned dozens of homes in the communities of Shasta, Keswick and the west side of Redding, a city of about 92,000 people.

McLean says the situation is chaotic as Redding residents, who had little warning, try to evacuate.

Firefighters tried in vain to build containment around the blaze Thursday but flames kept jumping their lines, McLean said.

“It’s just a heck of a fight,” he said. “They’re doing what they can do and they get pushed out in a lot of cases. We’re fighting the fight right now.”

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

Whiskeytown Lake burns

Earlier in the day with flames exploding around Whiskeytown Lake, an effort to save boats at a marina by untying them from moorings and pushing them to safety, wasn’t swift enough to spare them all.

Dozens of charred, twisted and melted boats were among the losses at Oak Bottom Marina.

“The only buildings left standing … right now are the fire station and a couple of restrooms,” said Fire Chief Mike Hebrard of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “The boat docks down there — all the way out in the water — 30 to 40 boats caught fire when the fire laid down on top of them last night and burned those up.”

In the historic Gold Rush-era town of Shasta, state parks employees worked through the early morning to rescue artifacts from a museum as the blaze advanced.

Wildfires throughout the state have burned through tinder-dry brush and forest, forced thousands to evacuate homes and forced campers to pack up their tents at the height of summer. Gov. Jerry Brown declared states of emergency for the three largest fires, which will authorize the state to rally resources to local governments.

The wildfires have dispatched firefighters to all corners of the state amid an oppressive heat wave.

Cranston Fire

Hundreds of miles to the south, winds picked up and sent flames rushing downhill on the flanks of Southern California’s Mount San Jacinto.

Helicopters making water drops and air tankers pouring red flame retardant circled overhead as flames burned both sides of the main road leading to the scenic town of Idyllwild.

The blaze erupted Wednesday and quickly turned into a wall of flame that torched timber and dry brush. In a matter of hours, the so-called Cranston Fire grew to 7.5 square miles.

About 3,000 residents were under evacuation orders Thursday in Idyllwild and several neighboring communities.

The Cranston Fire was the largest of at least five police believe were purposely set by a man whose car was spotted at the starting point of the blaze in Riverside County, officials said.

Brandon McGlover, 32, of Temecula was booked on suspicion of five counts of arson, state fire officials said.

Yosemite blaze grows

The heart of Yosemite National Park remained empty the day after campers and hotel guests were evicted so firefighters could try to keep the state’s largest fire from entering the park nearly two weeks after it was sparked.

The closure was heartbreaking for travelers who mapped out trips months in advance to hike and climb amid the spectacular views of cascading waterfalls and sheer rock faces.

Daina Miller of Tucson, Arizona, had wanted to visit Yosemite for years, but instead her family spent a few hours breathing foul-smelling smoke Tuesday before retreating to their RV for the night. The next morning, they left for Los Angeles.

“You go there and expect the fresh air and it was the total opposite of that,” she said Thursday. “It’s kind of funny, we’re going to LA to get some fresh air.”

The closure through at least Sunday led to at least 1,000 campground and hotel bookings being canceled, park spokesman Scott Gediman said.

Officials emphasized Yosemite wasn’t in imminent danger from the Ferguson Fire, which grew to more than 67 square miles in steep timber in the adjacent Sierra National Forest. The fire was just 25 percent contained.

One firefighter was killed July 14, and six others have been injured

Evacuations in the north

In the north, new evacuations were expanded to about 2,200 people in the wilderness recreation region near Redding that included Shasta and its historic former courthouse and ruins of brick buildings that make up Shasta State Historic Park.

Matt Teague, an acting district superintendent for state parks, drove an hour and half in the middle of the night to help employees of the park and volunteers rescue historic paintings, prints and other artifacts from the museum housed in the 1861 courthouse.

The fire’s faint glow was visible when he arrived at 3 a.m. and it kept getting brighter, he said.

Just before dawn, the flames had gotten close enough that they were about to evacuate when the fire changed direction and began burning to the north, he said.

That bought them five more hours to collect the most precious items until late morning when it became too dangerous and they were told they had to leave.

“We were on our toes the whole time, to be honest with you,” Teague said. “We didn’t get everything. We didn’t have time.”

Teague spoke later in the day as ash rained down and flames burned on both sides of town as temperatures in the area topped 110 degrees Fahrenheit. He said the downtown and centerpiece of the park still stood, but it was unsafe to go inside and collect more relics.

News Videos
Henderson fails to investigate the drug overdose death of one of its officers
Henderson Police Department's internal affairs did not investigate the 2014 drug overdose death of an officer. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Syphilis Awareness Day
Dr. Joe Iser, District Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District, discusses the effects and issues with syphilis in the Las Vegas community on April 16, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas diocese IDs 33 ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse
The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas released a list on Friday of 33 “credibly accused” of sexual abuse who at some point served in the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CCSD Arbor View meeting
The Clark County School Board hears from the public about racial tensions at Arbor View High School on Thursday, April 11, 2019. (Amelia Park-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Parents of autistic student battle Clark County School District
Joshua and Britten Wahrer, parents of a special education student, are battling the Clark County School District for the right to equip their son with a monitoring device. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Metro homeless outreach a shift in strategy
Lt. Joe Sobrio discusses the new homeless outreach team for Metro. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prayer for Opportunity Scholarships
Las Vegas students and adults hold a prayer meeting about the Opportunity Scholarship program on Thursday, April 4, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Solar scams on the rise in Nevada
As Nevada’s solar industry has made a resurgence, solar scammers have followed suit.
Clark County schools and the late bus issue
Year after year, late or no-show buses in the Clark County School District draw the ire of parents and students alike. One year the problem even prompted a parent to crack a school bus window in frustration over a late drop-off. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
I-15 southbound congested near Primm Sunday afternoon
Drivers heading toward California on Interstate 15 should expect heavy traffic and a 13-mile backup Sunday afternoon.
Learning lifesaving skills in advance of fire season
Students and firefighters attend a training session at Fire Station 80 in Blue Diamond, Saturday, March 30, 2019. The training session helps volunteer firefighters obtain necessary annual certification to work wild fires.
Car restoration behind prison walls
Inmates share their experiences working for the Southern Desert Correctional Center auto body shop in Indian Springs while learning valuable skills.
Parent remembers Las Vegas boy killed by car
People visit a memorial at the intersection of South Fort Apache Road and West Arby Avenue at at Faiss Park Wednesday, March 27, 2019, where Jonathan Smith, 12, of Las Vegas, died after he was struck while crossing Fort Apache Monday. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Couple left with surprise medical bills after visit to the hospital
Michael Pistiner took his wife, Marta Menendez-Pistiner, to the ER in January after she fainted twice and appeared to be having a seizure. Despite paying $856 monthly for health insurance, the two, self-employed musicians, were stuck with more than $5,700 in hospital and doctor bills after than hour-and-a-half visit. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Las Vegas police brief the media on fatal crash
Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Nick Farese addresses the media about a car accident at South Fort Apache Road and West Arby Avenue that left one minor dead and one hospitalized on Monday, March 25, 2019. (Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Arbor View parent talks about racial issues at the school
Lawanna Calhoun, a former Arbor View parent, talks about the state of the school. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jim Foley talks about 30 years of living HIV-positive
Jim Foley, who was diagnosed as HIV positive 30 years ago, talks at his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Traffic Slows to a Crawl on I-15S Near Primm
Traffic slowed to a crawl around 2:30p Sunday, on I-15S near Primm, Nevada.
Homeless residents speak about safety
The homeless residents living at the corner of Owens Ave. and Main St. reflect on how they feel about their safety after two homeless men died, one was hit crossing the street and another was beat to death by another homeless man. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
CCSD Superintendent address alleged racially motivated threats at Arbor View
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara gives update on alleged racially motivated threats against Arbor View High School, and says such threats will not be tolerated. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Super Bloom Near Lake Elsinore, California
Crowds packed the hills near Lake Elsinore on Saturday to capture a rare selfie amidst the super bloom of poppies turning the landscape purple. The super bloom was caused by the larger rainfall this year. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fiery accident in Las Vegas
A three-car accident on Spring Mountain Road around 6:30 pm on Monday night
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Stardust implosion anniversary
Twelve years ago today, the Stardust Resort and Casino was imploded. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Lawsuits filed against security contractors at Nevada National Security Site
Two lawsuits were filed today against the current and former government security contractors for the Nevada National Security Site, one on behalf of Jennifer Glover who alleges sexual discrimination and assault and the other on behalf of Gus Redding who alleges retaliation after he gave statements supporting Glover’s claims. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New housing option helps Las Vegas moms keep kids while kicking drugs
WestCare Nevada Women and Children’s Campus in Las Vegas has added a new transitional housing wing for women who have completed the inpatient treatment at the behavioral health nonprofit to help them as they go through outpatient treatment, shore up their finances and prepare to secure long-term housing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Teenager in critical condition after being struck by an SUV in Henderson
Authorities were called about 2:45 p.m. to the scene in the 2100 block of Olympic Avenue, near Green Valley Parkway and Sunset Road. The teenager was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Water Question Part 3: Conservation loves a crisis
Future growth in the Las Vegas Valley will rest almost entirely on the community’s ability to conserve its finite share of the Colorado River.
The Water Question Part 7: How much can we grow?
Many experts agree that Southern Nevada can continue to grow, so long as residents are willing to do what needs to be done to stretch our crucial resource as far as it will go.
The Water Question Part 6: How many people can Southern Nevada’s water sustain?
The number can swing wildly depending on a host of variables, including the community’s rates of growth, conservation efforts and the severity of drought on the Colorado River.
TOP NEWS
ad-infeed_1x2_1
Home Front Page Footer Listing