California firefighter lost home in Carr blaze while battling another

California firefighter lost home in Carr blaze while battling another

California firefighter lost home in Carr blaze while battling another

The toll of devastation from one of the most brutal fires in California history rose to nearly 1,000 homes destroyed and about 200 more damaged as a sprawling wildfire ignited by a spark from a towed vehicle grew to more than 175 square miles.

More than a thousand homes and more than 400 businesses and other buildings were reduced to ruins as the blaze is now ranked as the sixth most destructive wildfire in California history, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

Elsewhere, the Carr Fire had burned more than 880 homes and killed six people in and around Redding. The fire has burned more than 162 square miles and destroying more than 1,100 structures, is the most destructive fire in Shasta County history.

The staff at the administrative annex of the Redding, California, outpatient clinic was evacuated when the fires got too close, but the two main facilities, which serve about 800 veterans daily, remain open, VA Northern California Health Care System officials said Tuesday.

Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox said the intensity of this summer's wildfires is historic.

The new fire near Covelo was only about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of where twin fires in Mendocino and Lake counties have burned an area almost three times the size of San Francisco, destroyed 10 homes and threatened 12,000 more.

The state has spent more than $114 million fighting fires in July, the first month of California's fiscal year.

A mechanical failure of a vehicle caused the fire, CalFire said.

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Allen, president of Sacramento-based Cal Fire Local 2881, has battled fires like these for 30 years.

In Lake County, evacuation orders were in effect for the 4,700-resident town of Lakeport along with some smaller communities and a section of Mendocino National Forest.

Incident commander Bret Gouvea, who has referred to the fire as a "monster", said more than 10,000 people were allowed to return to their homes Monday and Tuesday.

The Steele Fire in Napa County is 75 percent contained at 135 acres. Still, many thousands more remained evacuated. The state spent a record $758 million a year ago.

"If we'd been able to go in when we wanted to, he'd be alive right now", she said.

"But you can't stop doing what you have to do, and you can't stop facing what you have to face", she said.

Firefighters continue to make progress on the Carr fire, which has grown to 110,154 acres but is now 27 percent contained. Park officials had hoped to reopen Friday. And parts of Yosemite National Park remain closed as firefighters battle a blaze there.

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