Redding, California (CNN)At least seven people were still missing in Shasta County, California, as the monstrous Carr Fire continued to grow Sunday, authorities said.
Sixteen people had been reported missing, but nine of those were found safe, according to Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, who spoke at a Sunday news conference. Redding Police Sgt. Todd Cogle said, “We’re finding that there are a lot of communication issues” making it hard to locate residents.”We spoke with several people who left their cell phones at their residences and in this day and age people don’t remember people’s phone numbers,” Cogle said.The fire, fueled by high winds and dry conditions, has chewed through 89,194 acres since Monday and is only 5% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.Read MoreHigh temperatures, low humidity and increased winds are all in the forecast, setting the stage for more explosive fire behavior, Chris Harvey with the Cal Fire Incident Management Team said Sunday.The blaze doubled in size Saturday. Flames have destroyed 517 structures in the Redding area, Cal Fire said.The erratic flames are blamed for six deaths, including 70-year-old Melody Bledsoe and her great-grandchildren, 4-year-old Emily Roberts and 5-year-old James Roberts. The three had been missing since Thursday when their house was engulfed by flames. Family members confirmed Saturday that they died.70-year-old Melody Bledsoe and her great-grandchildren Emily Roberts, 4, and James Roberts, 5, were killed in the Carr Fire, family members confirmed.”With a heavy heart we are sad to inform you all that Mel and the great-grandbabies were confirmed to be in the home,” the family said on a GoFundMe page. Another person was found dead after a fire consumed a house, Bosenko said Sunday. “This fire is scary to us. This is something we haven’t seen before in the city,” Redding Police Chief Roger Moore told reporters Friday night.More than 3,000 fire personnel are battling the flames with more than 300 engines and 17 helicopters, Cal Fire reported.The fire began Monday when a vehicle suffered mechanical failure, officials said. Firefighters had been making progress containing it until Thursday night, when it began to quickly spread.Firefighter, bulldozer operator also killedAt least two people died fighting the fire, and several others have been hurt.Jeremy Stoke, a fire inspector with the Redding Fire Department, died Thursday, the Redding firefighters union said.Fire inspector Jeremy Stoke died while helping with evacuations Thursday, Redding firefighters union said.Stoke, who joined the Redding Fire Department in 2004, was killed while assisting with evacuations, the union said.A private-hire bulldozer operator, who was not identified, also died Thursday while battling the fire. Three Marin County firefighters were treated for burns to the ears, hands and face after they encountered a “sudden blast of heat” from burning vegetation. Engineer Scott Pederson and firefighters Tyler Barnes and Brian Cardoza have been released from a hospital, the fire department said Friday in a news release.A fourth firefighter was being evaluated at the UC Davis Burn Center, the news release said.Eight people were treated for respiratory and burn-related injuries at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, a hospital spokeswoman said Friday morning.’I can’t believe it’s gone’The fire forced many residents to gather belongings and escape in just minutes.”We didn’t think the fire was going to come here, so we didn’t really take things out like everyone else that was scrambling at the last minute to get out when we saw fire on the ridge,” Dominic Galvin said.A resident of French Gulch, west of Redding, said she had two hours to evacuate, but some people had only 30 minutes. Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaBurned-out properties are seen during the Carr Fire in Redding, California.Hide Caption 1 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaA large pyrocumulus cloud explodes outward during the Carr Fire near Redding, California.Hide Caption 2 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaFlames from the Carr Fire burn through trees near Whiskeytown, California.Hide Caption 3 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaA burning home is reflected by a pool in Redding, California, on Friday, July 27. The Carr Fire is one of six large wildfires that California has been fighting.Hide Caption 4 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaA firefighter monitors a backfire while battling the Carr Fire on July 27. The fire grew rapidly Thursday night, ravaging several small communities and jumping the Sacramento River before threatening the outskirts of Redding.Hide Caption 5 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaA firefighter lights backfires in Redding on July 27.Hide Caption 6 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaThe Cranston Fire burns in San Bernardino National Forest, near Idlyllwild, California, on July 26. The Cranston Fire has prompted thousands to flee their homes.Hide Caption 7 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaThe Carr Fire burns along Highway 299 on July 26.Hide Caption 8 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaThe Carr Fire tears through Shasta on July 26.Hide Caption 9 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaA historic schoolhouse burns in Shasta on July 26.Hide Caption 10 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaThe mechanical failure of a vehicle is believed to have ignited the Carr Fire on Monday, fire officials said.Hide Caption 11 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaSmoke from the Ferguson Fire fills California’s Yosemite Valley on Wednesday, July 25. Some of the most iconic areas of Yosemite National Park were forced to close because of the wildfire.Hide Caption 12 of 13 Photos: Massive wildfires scorching CaliforniaA helicopter battles the Ferguson Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest on Sunday, July 22.Hide Caption 13 of 13“It’s terrifying,” Rachel Hines told CNN affiliate KRCR. “You’re frightened a little bit because you don’t know if you’re going to come back to your house and the town is going to be different.”Chris Corona went to his parents’ home to look for their cat, Jinx. The home was gone, but Jinx was there, safely hiding in a bush on a hillside untouched by the flames that killed all the other vegetation.Corona wept as he thought of things they lost in the house.”I can’t believe it’s gone. All those memories, childhood memories,” he said. “Stuff that parents save, like stuff you built as a little kid for your mom. I’m just glad my mom got all the valuable stuff that she wanted out.”Looting has been reported in abandoned residences in Redding, and some arrests have been made, according to Police Chief Moore. The California Office of Emergency Services said in a tweet on Saturday that the state was “getting help from other states to help fight wildfires.” Those states with resources on the scene included Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado. Other states, including Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico and Oregon, have resources on the way, the tweet said.
CA is getting help from other states to help fight wildfires. Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming & Colorado have resources on scene and Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico and Oregon have resources on the way! THANK YOU! ? ?: @CAL_FIRE pic.twitter.com/AkScemqa8y
— Cal OES (@Cal_OES) July 29, 2018 Looting has been reported in abandoned residences in Redding, and some arrests have been made, according to Moore. Looting became a problem several days ago as evacuations began, leading authorities to beef up patrols in neighborhoods, he said Sunday. “Everyone we come into contact [with] in those neighborhoods, if they don’t have a legitimate reason to be there, if we don’t arrest them for looting, they’ll be arrested for something else,” he said. Moore added: “It’s a no tolerance stance. We don’t want people in neighborhoods. People are getting victimized, and it’s unfortunate.” Other fires burning in CaliforniaIn addition to the Carr Fire, more than a dozen other large wildfires are burning throughout California, stretching resources.
State leaders convene Sunday to continue prioritizing emergency resources across 17 large fires across California. Red Flag conditions in #ShastaCounty. 12,000 firefighters working across the state. pic.twitter.com/RsXrJJBFC9
— Cal OES (@Cal_OES) July 29, 2018 The Cranston Fire near San Bernardino has burned more than 13,130 acres and is 29% contained.A man accused of setting several fires in Riverside County, including the Cranston Fire, was arrested Wednesday, authorities said.The Ranch and River fires in Mendocino County have collectively scorched more than 24,000 acres, Cal Fire said.
Much of the Central Valley is now blanketed in wildfire smoke. This is the view from our office, which is over 100 miles away from wildfires. #CarrFire #MendocinoComplex #cawx pic.twitter.com/tl5iWjxR5y
— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) July 29, 2018 The Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County has burned 53,646 acres and is 30% contained. The fire has prompted the closure of the most iconic areas of Yosemite National Park, which will reopen to all visitors August 3, officials said.A Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park firefighter, identified as Capt. Brian Hughes, died fighting the Ferguson Fire after he was struck and killed by a tree Sunday, according to a statement from the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Capt. Brian Hughes “Hughes was with the Arrowhead [Interagency] Hotshots for four years and will be dearly missed by everyone at the parks,” the statement read. “We grieve his loss.”