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Five killed, hundreds of homes destroyed by devastating wildfire in California

Staff Writer |
At least five people have been killed, more than 500 structures have been destroyed, tens of thousands of people were evacuated and more than 80,000 acres have been burned by a destructive wildfire in the Shasta County in California.

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Two young children and their 70-year-old great-grandmother died in the wildfire that swept into the city of Redding with devastating speed, their family said Saturday.

Their deaths brought the death count from the rapidly growing wildfire to five. Two firefighters were also killed by the monster fire earlier this week.

The three were among more than a dozen people reported missing on Saturday as the wildfire spread.

On Saturday morning, the fast-moving wildfire barreled toward the towns of Igo and Ono, prompting new evacuations, authorities said.

"A RedFlagWarning is in effect for northern California and the vicinity of the CarrFire through Monday morning due to extreme heat and gusty winds," the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) said on Facebook.

Northern California fires are starting to flare up Saturday afternoon as temperatures rise, according to the National Weather Service. Smoke from the Carr Fire could be seen from space.

The fire, raging out of control, surged into the edges of the city of Redding Thursday night, forcing residents to flee.

On Saturday, CalFire issued additional evacuation orders. About 38,000 residents in Redding and elsewhere in Shasta County have been ordered to leave their homes.

U.S. president Donald Trump signed an emergency declaration making federal emergency aid available to supplement state, local and tribal efforts in battling California wildfires, the Department of Homeland Security said on Saturday.

The Carr fire, now the largest of more than 20 fires burning in California, has so far burned more than 80,000 acres and was just 5 percent contained. Hundreds of structures have been destroyed as deadly Redding fire rages on. About 5,000 structures are threatened.

California's Governor Jerry Brown has declared Thursday a state of emergency in Shasta County and in other counties where the state battled multiple raging fires.

Redding, a city home to around 90,000 people, is about 260 kilometers north of Sacramento, the capital of California, and 190 km south of the border of the state of Oregon.

The devastating wildfire also has compromised the integrity of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge, which spans Clear Creek in rural Igo, according to the California Highway Patrol.

So far this year, wildfires have scorched almost 4.3 million acres across the United States, above the 3.7 million-acre average for the same period over the last decade.

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