The Carr Fire sends a plume of smoke into the sky above Whiskeytown, California, on 27 July 2018. Photo: Noah Berger / AP Photo

By Alexandria Sage, with additional reporting by Bernie Woodall and Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Scott Malone and Matthew Lewis
28 July 2018

REDDING, California (Reuters) – Nine people were reportedly missing as a monster wildfire in Northern California grew by two-thirds overnight after killing two firefighters, destroying hundreds of buildings and sending thousands of frantic residents racing from their homes.

Some 3,400 firefighters on the ground and in 17 helicopters battled the 80,900-acre (32,740-hectare) Carr Fire, which was just 5 percent contained early on Saturday as it ripped through Redding, a city of 90,000 people, in California's scenic Shasta-Trinity area.

More than 38,000 residents in Redding and elsewhere in Shasta County fled their homes as the fire began to gain speed and intensity on Thursday, destroying 500 homes and businesses and leaving Keswick, a town of 450, in smoldering ruins, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

Another 5,000 buildings are threatened, Cal Fire said. […]

The fire, which started on Monday afternoon, has been fed by hot, dry weather and high winds. Temperatures were forecast to reach 109 Fahrenheit (42.8 Celsius) on Saturday, with winds of up to 8 miles per hour (13 km), according to the National Weather Service.

“The winds, high temperatures and dry vegetation still have the potential to fuel fire growth,” Cal Fire said in a morning advisory. “Fire spread has been active in all directions.” [more]

[From the embedded video: Captain Fernando Herrera of the California Fire Service said, "The wildfire aspect has intensified over the years, so we've been experiencing more and more damaging wildfires, more fires that ignite rapidly. It's like throwing gas in these types of fires, they erupt and they spread so fast." –Des]

Deadly Northern California wildfire grows by two-thirds overnight

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