Police Investigate Looting In Carr Fire Zone

Elias Hubbard
July 30, 2018

Authorities say they are investigating reports of looting in Northern California neighborhoods that were evacuated because of a deadly wildfire and that officials have identified several suspects.

As of Sunday, evacuation orders were lifted for Idyllwild and Pine Cove. Officers have gone to homes of several people reported missing and found that cars were gone - a strong indication they fled.

The fire has forced the evacutation of more than 38,000 people in the vicinity of Redding, California, where one of the major fire fronts is located.

The Carr Fire, the deadliest and most destructive of nearly 90 wildfires burning from Texas to OR, has charred almost 34,000 hectares of drought-parched vegetation since erupting last Monday. So far, the Carr Fire has either changed direction or was stopped before it burning into Redding's city center.

A tearful Sherry Bledsoe confirmed the deaths of her grandmother, Melody Bledsoe, and her children, James Roberts, 5, and Emily Roberts, 4.

"Grandma did everything she could to save them she was hovered over them both with a wet blanket", Woodley said in a Facebook post.

"I've never experienced something so terrifying in my life", she said.

The National Weather Service on Sunday forecast hot and dry conditions in the area, with wind gusts expected late in the afternoon.

"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.

The explosive blaze reached the city of Redding on Thursday night.

A third firefighter died battling the Ferguson fire, near Yosemite, earlier this month. They pledged to return people to their homes as soon as possible.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said Sunday that 12,000 firefighters were battling 17 significant fires in California.

President Donald Trump on Saturday issued an emergency declaration in California and ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local response efforts in dealing with the wildfires.

A destroyed vehicle is seen among the ruins of a burned neighborhood after the Carr Fire passed through the area of Lake Keswick Estates near Redding, Calif., on July 28.

One town, Keswick, has been reduced to smouldering ashes by the inferno, which whipped into a fire "tornado" on Thursday, leaping on gale force winds across the Sacramento river.

Keswick, a mountain town of about 450 people, was nearly completely wiped out.

The fire has also destroyed 500 structures and damaged 75 other structures, Cal Fire said. But we'll make new memories and get new stuff.

The woman's husband, Ed Bledsoe, told the station that he left them home to run an errand on Thursday night.

While he discussed the worst-case scenario of the three staying put as the flames closed in, Decker held out some hope Saturday morning until he got the word they were dreading.

So far this year, wildfires have scorched nearly 1.7 million hectares (4.3 million acres) across the country - less than last year - but still higher than the 1.5 million-hectare (3.7 million-acre ) average for the same period over the last decade.

The blaze, which grew slightly Sunday to 139 square miles (360 square kilometers), is the largest fire burning in California.

The Carr Fire destroyed almost all of Keswick, a hamlet just west of Redding, which is about 250 miles (402 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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