Sixth death confirmed as firefighters battle California wildfires
Two children and their great-grandmother and two firefighters have also been killed.
A sixth person has died in a raging wildfire that has destroyed more than 500 buildings in Northern California.
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said a body was found within the boundary of the Carr Fire near Redding, about 230 miles north of San Francisco.
He said the victim, who was not identified, had been in an area which had been covered by an evacuation warning.
The fire has also claimed the lives of two firefighters and two children and their great-grandmother.
Eighty-one-year-old Don Ray Smith was a bulldozer operator who was helping clear vegetation in the path of the wildfire when he died. Redding fire inspector Jeremy Stoke was also killed amid the devastating blaze.
The other three victims – 70-year-old Melody Bledsoe and her two great-grandchildren James Roberts, five, and four-year-old Emily Roberts – died when walls of flames swept through the family’s rural property on the outskirts of Redding.
Meanwhile, fire crews attempting to contain the blaze are facing several weather uncertainties.
The blaze has grown to 139 square miles and now threatens more than 5,000 structures and is said to be just 5% contained.
Firefighters are enduring hot temperatures and remain wary of the possibility of gusty winds, Anthony Romero, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said.
“Right now it’s going everywhere,” he said. “We still have a lot of open line. Any event could bring this back up again.”
Anna Noland, 49, was evacuated twice in three days before learning through video footage on Saturday that the house she last saw under dark and windy skies had burned.
She plans to stay at a shelter at Simpson College in Redding while she searches for another place to live.
“I think I’m still in shock,” she said. “It’s just unbelievable knowing you don’t have a house to go back to.”
Ms Noland is among 38,000 people evacuated after the so-called Carr Fire roared into the outskirts of Redding in Shasta County.
The latest tally showed 517 destroyed structures and another 135 damaged, Mr Romero said, with the vast majority believed to be homes.
Wildfires around the state have forced roughly 50,000 people from their homes, officials said, and 12,000 firefighters are currently tackling 17 significant fires in California.
About 100 miles south-west of Redding, two blazes that prompted mandatory evacuations in Mendocino County burn largely unchecked.
Those fires are threatening more than 4,500 buildings, and have consumed 39 square miles.
Authorities have also issued evacuation orders in Napa County, famous for its wine, after a fire destroyed eight structures.
In addition, major fires continue to burn outside Yosemite National Park and in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs. Those fires have burned nearly 100 square miles.