The wildfires are still raging in California, and six people are reported dead and at least 19 are missing.

Tragically, the dead include a great-grandmother who was trying the save the lives of her two great-grandchildren. They were killed in the blaze that is burning near Redding, which has been named the Carr Fire.

The bodies of Melody Bledsoe, 70, and her great-grandchildren, James Robert, 5, and Emily Roberts, 4, were recovered from Bledsoe’s home in Redding, relatives said.
“Grandma did everything she could to save them,” Bledsoe’s granddaughter, Amanda Woodley, wrote in a Facebook post after Shasta County Sheriff’s officials confirmed the deaths to relatives. “She was hovered over them both with a wet blanket.”

James Robert died after he called 911, pleading for help as the flames bore down on his great-grandmother’s home, relatives told the San Francisco Chronicle.

…Melody Bledsoe’s husband, Ed Bledsoe, said he had gone to get supplies when his house caught fire. He said his nephew called him and asked him to come back quickly, but he got stuck in traffic.

“That woman was the best woman I ever seen and them two kids was absolutely angels,” Ed Bledsoe told the Sacramento Bee of his wife and great-grandchildren. “They done everything for grandma and grandpa, everything.”

The Carr Fire started a week ago. Over a dozen people are reported missing in the area, and the wildfire is so intense that it has created its own weather system.

The Carr Fire raging in Northern California is so large and hot that it is creating its own localized weather system with variable strong winds, making it difficult for experts to predict which way the blaze will spread.

At least 19 people were still reported missing in Shasta County, California, officials said at a community meeting Monday evening, after shifting winds, dry fuel and steep terrain helped the monstrous fire engulf more than 103,000 acres.

The fire has claimed six lives, including a firefighter and bulldozer operator working to extinguish the blaze.

Authorities have received 48 missing person reports but 29 people have since been found safe, according to Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko.

Authorities are now facing questions as to whether they issued proper warnings.

Ed Bledsoe told CBS News he did not receive any warning to evacuate his home in the city of Redding before the flames came through last week and killed his wife, Melody, and his great-grandchildren, 5-year-old James Roberts and 4-year-old Emily Roberts.

“If I’d have any kind of warning, I’d have never, ever left my family in that house,” Bledsoe said.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told the network there’s an investigation into whether the Bledsoe home received a warning call or a knock on the door. The sheriff cited evidence that door-to-door notifications were made in the area. Bosenko did not return a message from The Associated Press on Monday.

There are 17 wildfires burning across California. Public safety professionals are going to have to address a complex array of questions when they are all contained, beyond whether there were proper warnings issued:

1) How many were started by arson, as was the case in the Cranston Fire, which as burned over 13,000 acres and is now only 57% contained?

2) How many were started by homeless, as was the case in a December 2017 blaze in the Beverly Hills area?

3) Have restrictions on brush clearing contributed to the intensity of these fires?

4) Has Sacramento’s water-use policies enhanced with wildfire hazards in the state?

As an environmental health and safety professional, I am going to go out on a limb and say that none of these 17 fires were started by straws.

I will pray that there is no further loss in life during this wildfire season.