California wildfires leave eight dead, tens of thousands fleeing blazes

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A firefighter monitors a burning outbuilding to ensure flames don’t spread as the River Fire burns in Lakeport, Calif., on Monday, July 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Brutal heat in California is affecting thousands of firefighters as they battle more than a dozen destructive wildfires across the state. The worst one is near the city of Redding. The Carr fire is so massive, it’s creating its own weather system.

CGTN’s Mark Niu filed this report near the front lines in California.

Firefighters continue to battle high winds and dry weather, attempting to gain control of a fire that’s been described as very erratic.

However, other professions have had to carry on with brave faces as well. At least 50 health workers in the community have lost their homes, while many had to grab and go.

Nurse Emily Harper and her husband Richard had about 10 minutes to grab things and flee with their children. They only found out their home was destroyed when a friend showed them a photo of what was left.

The Harpers are volunteering at the Shasta College shelter, run by the Red Cross. Richard is an artist who has created more than 100 paintings. He showed a photo of the only one that’s left.

Shelters also have to make room for some prized possessions. That also includes animals that have been taken in for safety. A giant tortoise named Marty was one of the first evacuees to arrive at a local shelter.

However, even with the tragedy and destruction, community members have made an effort to support each other like family. That support has become a motto that so many in the area hold on to, as they all attempt to rebuild together.

Gary Ludwig breaks down necessary efforts to contain and combat wildfires

CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to Gary Ludwig, fire chief at Champaign, IL, Fire Department, about mobilizing resources for fire combat and prevention