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Northern California Wildfire as the 9th most destructive in the history of the state

LAKEPORT, California (AP) – A pair of forest fires that led to evacuation orders for nearly 20,000 people toward small coastal towns in northern California on Monday, and authorities wondered how quickly they warned residents about the biggest and most deadly fire [19659002] Ed Bledsoe told CBS News that he had received no warning to evacuate his house in Redding City before the flames broke last week, and his wife Melody and his great-grandchildren killed James Roberts and 4-year-old Emily Roberts for 5 years

"If I had any warning, I would never have left my family in this house," Bledsoe said.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told the network there was an investigation into whether the Bledsoe House received a warning or a knock on the door. The sheriff cited evidence of door-to-door alerts being made in the area. Bosenko did not return a message from The Associated Press on Monday.

  Forest fires that burn throughout California have left death and destruction.

Bob Strong / Reuters

Forest fires that burn throughout California have left death and destruction.

The dispute came when Sunday's authorities ordered the evacuation of twin fires in Mendocino and Lake Counties, including from the 4,700-inhabitant town of Lakeport, a popular destination for bassooners and boaters on Clear Lake, about 120 miles north of San Francisco.

The flames destroyed seven houses and threatened 10,000 others. So far, the flames have blackened more than 68,000 acres – well over 100 square miles – with minimal containment.

In the early evening, the city seemed to be completely deserted, while a few miles away, embers, ashes and smoke whirled through vineyards where at least one house went up in flames. Firefighters were burning on the ground of hills to burn the scale-dry paintbrush before flames covering the top of the ridge could feed on it and tumble downhill. A fleet of airplanes continuously dropped water and fire-retardant drops onto the fire.

  Fire crews fought numerous small bushfires this summer, charring most only a few mornings but still threatening home

Bob Strong / Reuters

Also this summer, fire stations have fought against numerous small bushfires, which usually charred only a few acres, but still threatened houses in densely built-up areas on dried out foothills.

These fires burned under 17 throughout the state, where fire crews ranged to the limit.

"We've had a fire in the last four years, so we're well aware of what can happen to fires and fire damage they can cause," said Corey Paulich, the county sheriff.

Also this summer, the fire teams fought with numerous small bush fires that charred only a few hectares, but still threatened houses in densely built suburbs. A 10-ac fire damaged 11 units of a residential home Monday in Santa Clarita, northwest of Los Angeles, said county fire officials

Derick Hughes II ignored and stayed on his property in Nice, California, where he dropped sprinklers on his roof run and distant plants that could catch fire.

The 32-year-old Marine Corps veteran sent his wife and two daughters to safety with three truckloads. But he said he had too much at stake to leave. He bought his three-bedroom home last year with a loan from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"That's all I bled for, and I worked really hard to get where I am, and I'm just not ready to give it up so easy," he said over the phone. "Some people may think that's selfish for me, and I have insurance, but the way things are going I'd rather not start over."

Hughes said that five of his neighbors also use the evacuation SMS Those who received them on Sunday evening did not obey to protect their homes and keep out looters.

  Six people have died in the massive Carr Fire, which has burned over 100,000 acres and forced thousands to evacuate Terray Sylvester via Getty Images since

Six people died in the massive Carr Fire, which has caused more than 100,000 acres and thousands of evacuations since it began on July 23.

Further north, police said five people were arrested on suspicion of entering areas evacuated by Redding due to the explosive forest fire.

This fire is today considered the ninth most destructive in the history of the California Department of Forestry and Fire spokesman Scott McLean said.

The blaze that killed two firefighters and four civilians, including two children, has now destroyed 818 homes and 311 outbuildings and damaged 165 homes, McLean said.

More than 27,000 people remained evacuated from their homes, although another 10,000 were allowed to come Monday, as fire crews reinforced lines at the western end of the blaze.

Fire officials were hopeful they could make progress, containing the fire containing 23 percent.

The fire is northwest

"It's still a fight," McLean said.

  Redding Fire is now believed to be the ninth-destroyed fire ctive in state history, California Department of Forestry

Terray Sylvester about Getty Images

The Redding Fire is now regarded as the ninth-destructive in state history, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott McLean.

The fire that threatened Redding – a city of about 92,000 inhabitants – was sparked by a vehicle problem about a week ago, about 10 miles west of the city. On Thursday it swept through the historic gold rush city of Shasta and nearby Keswick, driven by gusty winds and dry vegetation. Then he jumped across the Sacramento River and removed subdivisions on the western edge of Redding.

"It was not expected to travel so fast," Mclean said.

The fire slowed as the wind subsided and Crews Able to get into neighborhoods to prevent the embers from taking extra houses, he said.

Bledsoe said he did not know his house was in danger when he left his wife and great-grandchildren on Thursday. He said he received a call from his wife 15 minutes after leaving, saying he needed to go home because the fire was approaching. He said that one of the children had told him that the fire was at the back door. When he tried to come back, the road was blocked and flames prevented him from returning on foot.

  The fire slowed on Monday as the winds eased and the firefighters could invade neighborhoods to prevent embers

JOSH EDELSON on Getty Images

The fire slowed on Monday as the wind subsided and firefighters could invade neighborhoods to prevent the embers from taking extra houses away.

The sheriff said the fire would move quickly, but the authorities still alerted residents in various ways, going from door to door using loudspeakers on emergency vehicles.

Authorities also use electronic warning systems, including an emergency alert system that is repeated by local news media and an automated call system that can be targeted to phones in a geographical area. Another method known as an integrated public alarm and warning system may be directed to any mobile phone within range of a particular tower, said Sherry Bartolo, operations manager for the Shasta County shipping center.

The disadvantage of the automated calling system is that It is designed to dial landline numbers, but mobile phone users need to register their phones if they want to receive notifications.

The dispatch center issued more than 18 emergency alerts between Thursday evening and Friday noon, Bartolo said.

The center usually has eight dispatchers on duty, but overnight Thursday had at least 12, along with four superiors and three managers working the night, she said.

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