- On Friday in Shasta County, the evening sun combined with the still smoky air to produce a milky glow
- The light illuminated the shattered remains of houses and the skeletons of thousands of charred trees
- On Saturday, 3,400 firefighters still battling 48,300-acre Carr Fire which is only three percent contained
These eerie images show the devastation left by wildfires raging through northern California, which have left two firefighters dead and destroyed 500 homes, as officials warned another 5,000 properties are still threatened.
On Friday, the evening sun combined with the smoky air to produce a milky glow, which illuminated the shattered remains of houses and the skeletons of thousands of charred trees.
In the communities scorched by the blaze, the air is thick with the smell of smoke and chemicals, as the so-called Carr Fire continues to move through Shasta County like a freight train.
On Saturday morning, some 3,400 firefighters on the ground and in helicopters continued to battle the 125 miles fire as it ripped through the city of Redding, while blazes continued to rage elsewhere in the state.
Two vehicles that endured the Carr Fire, one with minor cosmetic damage and one destroyed, rest among leveled homes in the Lake Keswick Estates area of Redding on Friday evening
California Highway Patrol officer Gavin Graham surveys homes leveled by the Carr Fire in Lake Keswick Estates on Friday. The fire is still only three percent contained after igniting six days ago
The fire, which was just three percent contained after igniting six days ago, has been fed by high temperatures and low humidity, which were expected for at least the next week, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott.
‘This fire is a long way from done,’ he said.
Gusty winds reaching 60mph have fanned the flames creating ‘firenadoes’, which are strong enough to flip cars ‘like toys, according to fire service spokesman Scott McLean.
The fire began on Monday with a mechanical failure of a vehicle. It grew completely out of control on Thursday, tearing through two small communities and reaching the city of Redding.
Tens of thousands of people fled the city in fear of their lives from the blaze.
In the small northern California community of Keswick, only a handful of homes remain.
The flames so thoroughly ate up homes that it’s difficult to tell how many once stood above the pile of ash and smoking rubble that remains.
Somewhere in there was the home of Shyla and Jason Campbell.
Jason Campbell, a firefighter, was six hours away battling a wildfire burning near Yosemite Valley when the Carr Fire moved in on his home and family.
Shyla Campbell, 32, said it was nearly 2 a.m. Thursday when she got an official alert to evacuate.
‘It’s huge flames, it’s coming up the hill, and everyone’s out and we’re watching it, then it goes down, and everyone’s like, ‘Oh it’s going out,’ ‘ she said. ‘And I’m like, ‘No, it’s going down the mountain and it’s going to come back up the next ridge.’ ‘
She was right.
The family spent the night at a hotel. When Jason Campbell returned from the blaze he was fighting on Friday, he found his own home had gone up in flames, along with an RV and a boat.
Mark Peterson, who lost his home in the Carr Fire, gives water to goats that survived the blaze on Friday in the city of Redding, California
Gusty winds reaching 60mph have fanned the flames creating ‘firenadoes’, which are strong enough to flip cars ‘like toys, according to fire service spokesman Scott McLean. Pictured: Leveled homes in the Lake Keswick area on Friday
The flames so thoroughly ate up homes in Keswick that it’s difficult to tell how many once stood above the pile of ash and smoking rubble that remains
The fire began on Monday with a mechanical failure of a vehicle. It grew completely out of control on Thursday, tearing through two small communities and reaching the city of Redding, which is pictured on Friday
The Campbells’ home of five years is among at least 500 structures that officials say were destroyed by the fire, which also swept through the historic Gold Rush town of Shasta and hit homes in Redding, a city of 92,000 about 100 miles south of the Oregon border.
‘It’s tough,’ Shyla Campbell said Friday from the city of Shasta Lake. ‘I just have to figure out where we’re going to stay. We’re just trying to stay away from the fire.’
So are about 37,000 people who remain under evacuation orders Friday. Nearly 5,000 homes in the area were being threatened by the 75-square-mile (194-square-kilometer) blaze, which is just five percent contained.
Thousands of people scrambled to escape before the walls of flames descended from forested hills onto their neighborhoods Thursday.
Residents who gathered their belongings in haste described a chaotic and congested getaway as the embers blew up to a mile ahead of flames and the fire leaped across the wide Sacramento River and torched subdivisions in Redding.
Redding police chief Roger Moore was among those who lost their homes, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Greg and Terri Hill evacuated their Redding home of 18 years Thursday night with little more than their medications, photo albums, clothes and firearms, assuming they’d be back in a few days.
But when they returned Friday, virtually nothing was left of their home but fine particles of ash.
The remains were smoldering so hot, they couldn’t get too close to see if anything survived.
‘It’s pretty emotional,’ Terri Hill said. ‘I know it’s just stuff. A lot of memories. But we’ll make new memories and get new stuff. Everybody’s safe.’
A partially burned boat floats on Whiskeytown Lake during the Carr fire near Whiskeytown, California, on Friday, near where to more than 100 homes were burned
There are more fires elsewhere in the state. This photo shows a blaze over Apple Canyon caused by the Cranston Fire near Idyllwild, San Bernardino, on Friday
An eagle ornament at the top of a damaged flag pole is seen against the setting sun during the Carr fire in Redding, California, on Friday
The flames moved so fast that firefighters working in oven-like temperatures and bone-dry conditions had to drop efforts to battle the blaze at one point to help people escape. Pictured: The Carr Fire near Redding on Friday
Firefighters gather on a roadside near the Cranston Fire near Idyllwild in San Bernardino County on Friday. The fire has been made worse by strong winds
The Hills fled before they were told to, knowing danger was afoot when the power went out and helicopters suddenly began flying low over their home.
Liz Williams loaded up two kids in her car and then found herself locked in bumper-to-bumper traffic with neighbors trying to retreat from Lake Redding Estates.
She eventually jumped the curb onto the sidewalk and ‘booked it.’
‘I’ve never experienced something so terrifying in my life,’ she said. ‘I didn’t know if the fire was just going to jump out behind a bush and grab me and suck me in.’
The flames moved so fast that firefighters working in oven-like temperatures and bone-dry conditions had to drop efforts to battle the blaze at one point to help people escape.
Two firefighters were killed in the blaze, Redding fire inspector Jeremy Stoke and a bulldozer operator whose name wasn’t immediately released. He was the second bulldozer operator killed in a California blaze in less than two weeks.
Elsewhere in the state, large fires continued to burn outside Yosemite National Park and in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs.
Yosemite National Park officials said Friday that the park won’t reopen to everyone until the afternoon of August 3.
Keela Brilz (right) holds her dog Zoe who was returned safely to her at her burned home in Redding in Friday. Elsewhere, people have not been able to return
Greg and Terri Hill stand in front of the charred remains of their home in Redding. Elsewhere in the state, large fires continued to burn outside Yosemite National Park and in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs