Destructive ‘Carr Fire’ Rips Through Shasta County

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(Picture: AP) A house burns during the Carr fire in Redding, California (Picture: AFP) More than 1,700 firefighters are battling the blaze, Cal Fire said in an evening advisory.

An historic schoolhouse burns as the Carr Fire tears through Shasta, Calif., on Thursday, fueled by high temperatures, wind and low humidity.

The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services said it had activated a state operations center to provide assistance in multiple wildfires burning in Northern and Southern California.

There were over 1,700 firefighters have been working to control the blaze.

Evacuations were ordered for areas around the city of Redding.

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Firefighters have been struggling to contain the so-called Ferguson Fire, which has raged near the 768,000-acre park since last week, shrouding the Half Dome and El Capitan peaks in smoke.

A wildfire that roared with little warning into a Northern California city claimed two lives as thousands of people scrambled to escape before the walls of flames descended from forested hills onto their neighbourhoods, officials said Friday. "Their efforts have been hampered overnight due to extreme fire behavior and challenging wind conditions". The blaze was just 3 percent contained as ground crews, water-dropping helicopters and airplane tankers battled the flames for a fifth day.

CAL FIRE reported Thursday night that the fire has burned about 28,000 acres.

The fire erupted Thursday night near Redding and swiftly moved into the west side of the city after jumping over the Sacramento River.

Jim Chapin says he got home at around 7:30 p.m. Thursday and police were there telling people to evacuate the Lake Redding Estates neighborhood. "We are going to leave the station because it is now unsafe to be here", Woods announced. Similar conditions are expected through Monday.

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A Red Cross employee told local ABC affiliate KRCR-TV some 500 people took shelter in an evacuation center at Shasta College.

"They're in triple digits through Thursday" with no rain forecast, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. Fifteen structures were destroyed as of Friday morning.

The Carr Fire in Shasta County has ravaged several small communities near Redding.

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

Authorities said they believe McGlover started not only the Cranston Fire but other fires in the region as well.

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This year so far, nearly 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) have been blackened by wildfires, above a 10-year average of 3.6 million acres (1.5 million hectares) over the same period, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

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