California wildfires leave 8 dead and thousands evacuated

World Today

Now to the western United States and California where thousands of firefighters have contained just 20 percent of a major wildfire there.

At least eight people have died.

CGTN’s Mark Niu is near the front lines in Northern California with more.

Firefighters worked through the night to control the fire but shifting winds and dry fuels have created nightmarish conditions.

“We’re dealing with some very erratic and extreme fire behavior right now. With these increased winds that have happened, we’ve had some very large pushes where it’s burnt up a lot of acreage extremely fast,” said John Clingingsmith Jr a Fire Captain for California Fire Department.

The speed of the fire proved deadly for Ed Bledsoe’s family. He lost his wife, four-year-old great-granddaughter and five-year-old great-grandson, who was on the phone with Ed. He frantically tried to reach them.

“My wife was the greatest woman in the world, and my grandkids were excellent. Them kids were the smartest kids in their school. Give them top honors on everything. It kills me, all I think about is them talking to me and begging them to come get them out of the fire,” said Ed Bledsoe Jr a fire Victim.

With tens of thousands of hectares still burning out of control, Captain Clingingsmith said the sight of children give his exhausted firefighters a sense of urgency.

“Lot of us that have younger kids at home. Kind of gives us that perk that we need to remind us why we’re here as well as our familes back home at the same time,” said John Clingingsmith Jr a Fire Captain for California Fire Department.

In this devastated area of Lake Redding Estate, many will come home only to charred timbers and ash. They must rebuild.