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Carr Fire death toll rises again [Update]

Blaze is now one of the ten most destructive fires in California history

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Update, August 5: The death toll in the destructive Carr Fire in Shasta County rose again after a PG&E worker died in Shasta County Saturday, the seventh recorded fatality.

ABC7 reports that, according to a PG&E spokesperson, 21-year-old Jairus Ayeta was working to restore power to areas affected by the ongoing fire when he fell victim to a traffic collision.

According to a GoFundMe page established by family members, Ayeta was an immigrant from Uganda remembered for his upbeat disposition. The fund has raised nearly $25,000 out of a $60,000 goal to assist Ayeta’s surviving family.

Cal Fire’s Sunday evening update about firefighting efforts indicates that the Carr Fire grew to more than 160,000 acres over the weekend.

The state now estimates some 43 percent containment of the blaze. That’s the best progress reported in the entire, harrowing history of the conflagration that’s destroyed homes in and around the city of Redding since beginning July 23, but it’s small solace in light of the fact that the Carr Fire is presently the sixth most destructive incident in Cal Fire’s archive.

Right now the tally for the blaze sits at 1,604 recorded structures consumed. The fifth place Witch Fire in San Diego count circa 2007 claimed 1,650. Estimates of building losses in Shasta County will very likely go up in the future, when fire investigators gain access to areas presently isolated by burning.


Update: A good news/bad news story as far as fire containment emerged with Cal Fire’s Thursday morning update, which revealed that the deadly Carr Fire has grown to more than 121,000 acres but also that incremental but notable gains have been made in laying fire lines, which now encircle roughly 35 percent of the burn area.

But it’s nothing but sad news in terms of the effect on Shasta County communities: The latest tallies have it that more than the flames consumed more than 1,500 buildings since July 23, 1,060 of them residential.


Update: The latest tallies on the ongoing Carr Fire in Shasta County are nothing short of grim with Cal Fire recording 884 homes destroyed, along with 352 additional structures.

Residents of affected areas still unable to return can check the Carr Fire structure status map to see if their home was damaged; however, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department notes that, because of the dangers of working in the fire area, the map may not necessarily be up to date in all areas.

The most recent fire map shows the blaze at 27 percent contained with fire lines mostly concentrated on the southeast side of the burn area.

While that represents significant progress over two days, the affected area has grown to more than 110,000 acres across other fronts. The Carr Fire is now one of the ten most destructive fires in California history, though different outlets dispute precisely where it falls in the rankings.

Sacramento Bee published a 360-degree video showing fire crews working near the town of Igo, the community nearest to the fire area other than Redding. In the footage, only two narrow lanes of asphalt separate smoldering trees and grass on one side of the road from dry grass and dead trees on the opposite end, with firefighters spraying the road shoulder with hoses to minimize the risk of sparks crossing the road.


Update: Sunday evening, the state issued additional evacuation orders for Trinity/Shasta County Line at Buckhorn Summit Road west to Trinity Dam Road and all roads within this area north of Highway 299.

Cal Fire identifies the following active evacuation centers:

  • Cross Point Community Church, 2960 Hartnell Ave, Redding, CA 96003.
  • Foothill High School, 9773 Deschutes Road, Palo Cedro, CA 96003.
  • Trinity High School, 321 Victory Lane Weaverville, CA 96093.
  • Simpson College, 2211 College View Drive, Redding, CA 96003.
  • Shasta College, 11555 Old Oregon Trail, Redding, CA 96003.

The fire’s estimated acreage exceeds 95,000. Estimated containment is up to 17 percent—the first somewhat significant progress reported as the fire’s seventh day begins.

Sunday afternoon, NBC and other outlets reported that the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office had discovered a sixth casualty but that the victim had not yet been identified. The number of destroyed or damaged structures is now over 1,000.


Update: The Associated Press reported on Saturday that two young children and their great, great grandmother died when the fast-moving Carr Fire enveloped a home near Redding, bringing the overall death toll to five.

On Saturday nigh,t Cal Fire reported essentially no progress trying to control the blaze, which has grown to nearly 84,000 acres and is still only five percent contained. The state agency tallies 536 buildings destroyed in Shasta County, with thousands more still in danger.

For the latest evacuation orders (issued Saturday night) go here. For a list of active evacuation centers, go here. Note that some previously used evacuation centers have closed and been relocated, as indicated on the lists.

The National Weather Service forecasts that conditions in the area will continue to be hot, dry, and windy throughout the rest of the weekend, exacerbating the danger posed by the conflagration.

Major Wildfire Spreads To 28,000 Acres, Threatens Redding, CA
The Carr Fire near the community of Whiskeytown on Friday.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Update: On Saturday morning, Cal Fire reported that the Carr Fire was completely out of control, having almost doubled in size to nearly 81,000 acres and only five percent contained, “active in all directions.”

The state has recorded some 500 structures destroyed and lists an additional 5,000 as threatened. The fire has reportedly devastated communities like Shasta, Keswick, and Whiskeytown, and is presently encroaching on the northwestern side of Redding.

Evacuation centers have been established at the following locations:

Residents located east of Trinity Mountain Road use evacuation center located at Shasta College 11555 Old Oregon Trail in Redding. Residents located west of Trinity Mountain Road use evacuation center located at Weaverville Elementary School 31020 Highway 3 in Weaverville.

Animal evacuation centers: Large animals, Redding Rodeo Grounds 715 Auditorium Drive Redding. Small animals, Haven Humane 9417 East Side Drive, Redding.

You can find a full list of evacuation orders here. Evacuations are mandatory; evacuees should leave as soon as possible and bring only what you’ll immediately need.


Update: On Thursday night, Cal Fire released a series of additional, sweeping evacuation orders:

The Shasta Dam Visitor Center.

All of Shasta Dam Blvd.

All of Shasta Lake City and Summit City.

Pine Grove Ave north on Lake Blvd to Shasta Dam incorporating.

Summit City, North Belt Line and Flannigan Road.

Intersection of Placer Road and Buenaventura Blvd west to Thompson Lane.

Buenaventura Blvd from Placer Road to Westside Road.

Westside Road to Keyon Drive incorporating Country Heights and West Redding Neighborhood.

Buenaventura Blvd to Hwy 299 to Placer Road.

Placer Road from Buenaventura Blvd to Cloverdale Road.

Cloverdale Road from Placer Road to Clear Creek Road.

Clear Creek Road west from Cloverdale Road to Honey Bee Road.

North of Sacramento River to Keswick Dam Road, West of Market Street and Lake Blvd to Keswick Dam.

North at Lake Blvd and Oasis Road to Pine Grove Ave and Walker Mine Road, West of Cascade Road/I-5.

South along Swasey Dr from SR 299 to Placer Rd.

West along Placer Rd From Swasey Dr to Prospect Dr.

North from Prospect Dr to encompass Middle Park Ranch Land Area.

West of Overhill Dr and North of SR 299.

North of SR 299 and West of Spinmaker Road. to the end of Harlan Drive.

Keswick Dam East to Counter Lane, North to Quartz Hill Road.

The fire nearly doubled in size overnight and is now only three percent contained as it rushes toward Redding.

Cal Fire reports two casualties—a firefighter and a bulldozer operator—as well as 65 buildings destroyed at the latest count, a figure which is probably conservative given that the fire presently blocks fire investigators from many affected areas.


On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Shasta County in response to the ongoing Carr fire, which started Monday and has since grown to consume more than 28,000 acres near the city of Redding.

According to a Cal Fire update Thursday evening, the Carr Fire is only about 10 percent contained and threatens nearly 200 structures.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Department issued the following statement on mandatory evacuations via social media on Thursday:

The following areas have been and will continue to be evacuated pending further notice. Please stay away from these areas as fire personnel and appartus are actively working in the areas. They are as follows:

**Everything in the County, north of Hwy 299W and west of the Sacramento River.

**Everything from the intersection of Lower Springs Road and Swasey Drive and northwest of that intersection to Hwy 299.

***As a matter of clarification, nothing within the City of Redding has been evacuated.

And Cal Fire offered some more specific evacuation notices:

The community of French Gulch is under an evacuation order.

Residents along SR 299 west of Trinity Mountain Rd to the base of Buckhorn Summit are also under evacuation order.

Residents along Whiskey Creek Rd to include the boat launch/day use areas are evacuated.

The designated evacuation center is Shasta High School at 2500 Eureka Way in Redding.

The Cal Fire incident report for the Carr blaze says that the “became very active overnight” between Wednesday and Thursday. Comparing reports over the week, it seems the fire nearly tripled in size from its Wednesday permitter of some 7,000 acres in less than a day, possibly prompting the governor’s office to take action.

The declaration permits state government to contribute funds, equipment, and personnel to firefighting efforts in Shasta County.

Brown also declared emergency status for the Cranston fire in Southern California. Although the still ongoing Ferguson Fire in Yosemite is larger and has been burning for longer (Friday marks the two-week birthday for the big burn), its rural placement means it currently poses less of a threat to human infrastructure.

Cal Fire blames the Carr fire on “mechanical failure of a vehicle” but have yet to report a more specific cause.