Bay Area fire departments help battle raging Carr Fire

With wildfires raging across the state, dozens of crews from multiple Bay Area fire departments have been called in to support Cal Fire in what state officials are calling “the new norm” for fire season in California.

The deadly Carr Fire near Redding in Shasta County has claimed the lives of two firefighters since the blaze began Monday. A Redding firefighter
was killed Friday and a contract firefighter operating a bulldozer died Thursday.

Several people have been injured fighting the Carr Fire, including three firefighters from the Marin County Fire Department who suffered burns to their faces, ears and hands Thursday when a sudden blast of heat from nearby vegetation overwhelmed them as they defended a structure.

All three were treated at Mercy Medical Center in Redding and were later released. One firefighter is receiving further evaluation at the Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center at University of California, Davis.

City and county firefighters, engines, command vehicles and other support units have been deployed from nearly every Bay Area County including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma and Santa Clara counties.

Marin County fire has assigned 76 firefighters to blazes throughout the state, from the Marsh Fire near Clayton to the Cranston Fire in Riverside County, said Marin County fire spokesman Bret McTigue.

“It’s unreal,” McTigue said of the statewide blazes. “Unfortunately, it’s the new norm in California.”

New evacuations were ordered early Friday in Shasta County as winds fueled the raging blaze that jumped the Sacramento River in Redding.

The Carr Fire was just 3 percent contained as of this morning. The blaze has destroyed 65 structures and damaged more than 50, with nearly 5,000 homes threatened, officials said. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Thursday for Shasta County.

Weather research experts say the Carr Fire is unusual because strong winds have not been driving the fire, but rather the smoke plume “rotated and intensified creating its own weather,” said professor Craig Clements, director of the Fire Weather Research Lab at San Jose State University.

“For a fire to burn into Redding like that is very unique,” he said.

-Angela Hill, Bay City News

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