'Terrifying' tornados of flame burn California city; 2 dead

California Governor Declares State Of Emergency Over Wide-Ranging Fires

A firefighter from the city of Redding was killed as a result of the Carr Fire, California officials said in a statement Friday.

Dozens of homes and businesses have already been burned to the ground in Redding, residents are evacuating, and local TV presenters were forced to flee while on air.

"The fire is moving pretty rapidly and taking everything down in its path", Scott McLean, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said late Thursday.

The blaze has burned dozens of homes in the communities of Shasta, Keswick and the west side of Redding. "There was not much of a warning". It was sparked by a mechanical issue involving a vehicle, Cal Fire said.

Hospital staff is preparing to evacuate the facility if needed, a Cal Fire spokesman said.

A raging wildfire has killed two people in Northern California near its border with OR, destroyed buildings and forced evacuations after it jumped the Sacramento River.

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. At least 37,000 people are now under evacuation, including the entire city of Redding as firefighters deal with afternoon winds that could blow the blaze north into the city of Shasta Lake. One firefighter responding to that blaze was killed - Cory Iverson, a 32-year-old with Cal Fire who left behind a pregnant wife and a 2-year-old daughter.

Employees at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding took Whisper the bobcat, Loki the fox and nearly 50 other animals home with them Thursday night to keep them safe from the deadly Carr Fire, said Turtle Bay CEO Mike Warren.

A privately hired bulldozer operator was killed while battling the fire, Cal Fire reported, although this person was also not immediately identified while their next of kin was contacted. Fire officials warned that the blaze would probably burn deeper into urban areas before there was any hope of containing it.

"We're going to leave the station because it's now unsafe to be here".

Firefighters tried in vain to build containment around the blaze today but flames kept jumping their lines, he said.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared states of emergency for the three largest fires, authorizing the state to rally resources to local governments, the AP writes.

The Cranston Fire was the largest of at least five police believe were purposely set by a man whose auto was spotted at the starting point of the blaze in Riverside County, officials said. The fire threatens swaths of lands in Idyllwild, and Mt San Jacinto state park and San Bernardino national forest have both been closed.

More than 1,000 firefighters are battling that blaze, which has scorched 7,500 acres and is only 5% contained.

Damate then pleaded with residents to follow the evacuation order in place and "stay safe".

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