Carr Fire kills two firefighters as 'wall of flames' engulfs city

Posted Jul 27, 2018 by Karen Graham
The Carr Fire in northern California grew dramatically Thursday night and Friday, killing at least two firefighters and injuring dozens of people as a literal wall of flames forced hundreds of people from their homes, destroying everything in its path.
The hard work of hotshot crews contribute to increased containment of a wildfire  like the Carr Fire...
The hard work of hotshot crews contribute to increased containment of a wildfire, like the Carr Fire.
U.S. Forest Service
An estimated 37,000 people in Shasta County evacuated their homes as the explosive and deadly Carr Fire burned into the Redding city limits, destroying dozens of structures in its path and threatening nearly 5,000 more buildings, officials said Friday.
The fire killed a Redding firefighter and a contracted bulldozer operator as it tripled in size overnight to 44,450 acres (17,988 hectares) and remains just 3 percent contained, according to Cal Fire numbers Friday morning.
The fire expanded so quickly Thursday night that it wiped out the progress firefighters had made since it began burning on Monday. Containment Thursday morning was about 10 percent, but the erratic nature of this dangerous fire has made it difficult to get a handle on it.
“The fire became very active throughout the evening,” Cal Fire said in a statement early Friday, according to the Washington Post. “Firefighters continue to work aggressively to build containment lines around the Carr Fire. Their efforts have been hampered overnight due to extreme fire behavior and challenging wind conditions.”
It does not help matters that the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning — which indicates a heightened fire risk — that would remain in effect until midnight, with gusting winds and low humidity expected to potentially fuel a “dangerous and rapid spread” of fire.
“A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior,” the Weather Service said. Winds from the southwest are expected to hit 25 mph and the temperature in Redding is topping off at 111 degrees Fahrenheit today.
Despite an inversion that has kept thick smoke close to the ground over the Redding area, firefighting aircraft were called up while in some areas, firefighters have been able to get up to the edge of the flames to build containment lines said Cal Fire Captain Scott Kenney.
Kenney added that the fire has destroyed 65 structures so far and threatened nearly 5,000 more. Thousands had been evacuated as the fire moved into northwest Redding, a city of 92,000 people. The firefighting effort has been a joint response that includes 110 engines from multiple agencies as well as 10 helicopters, with about 1,748 firefighters on the ground.
The 105 patients at the Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Center had to be bussed to Shasta College from the facility last night as the fire threatened the structure. At nearby Mercy hospital, eight people came in with burns, said spokesman Mike Mangas. Earlier in the day, five neonatal intensive care babies had been evacuated as a precaution.