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Home / US / Firefighter killed in Ferguson fire as fires roar through California

Firefighter killed in Ferguson fire as fires roar through California




Deadly forest fires ripped through California from the northern border to mountain ranges in the south of the state as angry flames burned out of control and tens of thousands of people continue to flee

A firefighter from the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks died after being hit by a falling tree on Sunday. The firefighter, whose name was not published, was a member of a tactical shooting operation against the Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County. The Firefighter was the eighth person killed in the recent flood of fires. Seventeen large forest fires in California continued the summer for residents and visitors alike, as the closure of the iconic Yosemite National Park had to be extended to Friday and 50,000 people were


Nationwide statistics showed on Sunday that the forest fires burned more than 200,000 acres and destroyed more than 500 buildings in the Redding area. Almost 20,000 homes remain in danger as evacuees are evacuated to the Red Cross's centers, colleges and public schools. More than 12,000 firefighters work to hold the one and a half dozen fires that authorities describe as "significant."

The fires have the lives of eight people including a great-grandmother and siblings 4 and 5, a firefighter and two bulldozer operators

"We are far ahead of the fire activity we saw last year," said Lynne Tolmachoff , a spokeswoman for the California Forestry and Fire Authority. "This is only July, so we are not in the worst part of the fire season."

The persistently hot and dry weather conditions, along with gusty winds in some affected areas, were of little promise for a quick quenching of the fires. They continue to rage from the San Jacinto Mountains in the south to counties in Mendocino, Lake and Napa and the border between California and Oregon.

In recent fires, more than half a dozen firefighters have been injured causing the death of Jeremy Stoke, a fire department inspector of the Redding Fire Department; Don Ray Smith, 81, a private bulldozer operator; and 36-year-old Braden Varney, Cal Fire heavy fire equipment manager, and the unidentified firefighter in the Ferguson flame. Other victims include the three Redding family members and another Redding native whose name has not yet been published.

The biggest hitherto devastating fire is the Carr Fire in Shasta County, which spans barely more than 90,000 acres. [19659136] Since Wednesday, all visitors to California's largest natural wonder, the Yosemite Valley, are excluded. Officials have extended the closure of the valley until Friday due to the Ferguson fire burning in the Sierra National Forest. The Ferguson fire broke out on July 13, 25 miles west of the park.

And in an increasingly gruesome routine, Mariposa County residents faced a similar forest fire threat a year ago, when thousands fled the devastating Detwiler fire

Disturbing air quality affected the areas around the fires and even farther away unhealthy conditions all the way to northwestern Nevada. The spread of particulate matter prompted Washoe County health authorities to warn people with lung disease, the elderly, and children about the smoky air.

A calcareous veil snuggled into Lakeport on Sunday, and visibility became difficult afternoon. Again and again the wind carried a loose glow to Kelseyville, and some of the evacuees chatted while wearing surgical masks. [19656140] Sutter Lakeside Hospital evacuated patients from all departments except the emergency department and the family's birth center on Saturday night. The evacuation was canceled Sunday morning.

So far, the air quality in the Bay Area has not been significantly affected by the fires, said Ralph Borrmann, a spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. After consulting the monitors on Sunday afternoon, Borrmann said the counties remained in the "good" range, including the Napa and Sonoma districts, where the effects were most likely.

"The smoke from the fire in Redding was high up a few days so it did not affect what we breathe on the ground," Borrmann said. Despite an early haze, "it has not reached its breathing zone"

Chronologist Associate Megan Cassidy and the Associated Press have contributed to this report.

Karen de Sá is a staff member of the San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @ KedeSa1


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