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California wildfires claim six lives and 19 are still missing

California wildfires claim six lives and 19 are still missing

Shock Discovery! No straws were involved in the ignition of any of California’s 17 wildfires.

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.


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tarheelkate | July 31, 2018 at 7:52 am

Horrible. If no warning was given, even worse than horrible. At least this fire began, it has been reported, with a vehicle malfunction, not arson.

California needs a serious examination of its water policies and its brush-clearing and forestry policies.

    CKYoung in reply to tarheelkate. | July 31, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Given time, California leftists turn out to be wrong on so many issues. leftists insisted on plastic grocery bags to save (((renewable))) trees. Turns out plastic grocery bags were such a bad idea some California cities ban them, and some charge extra to use them. I believe California leftist drought policies will also be proven to exacerbate drought conditions rather than save water. Government forcing people to let their lawns die probably leads to hotter cities/suburbs, increased erosion of soil, increased desert conditions and reduced rainfall. Similar to the poor soil practices lead to the great midwestern dust bowl in the 30’s, the recent California drought policies are a knee jerk reaction based on emotions rather then science.

    B Buchanan in reply to tarheelkate. | July 31, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    You’ve got that right tarheelkate! Grassfires during the dry season are a part of the California ecosystem but the state has followed a policy of fire suppression for decades (remember Smokey the Bear?) On the surface that appeared to be a good idea – fire kills stuff – but over the long term brush and debris have been able to build up to dangerous levels. Now there is so much underbrush that instead of a grass fire that laps at the base of large trees you have huge conflagrations that burn everything to the ground. The bigger the fuel load, the higher the flames, the hotter the fires which actually affect the weather, creating these horrible firestorms. That is one significant component to West Coast fires that just isn’t mentioned in news reports, at least not any I’ve heard. The drought of a few years ago killed a lot of trees too, so that’s an additional factor.

    My parents are buried in Lakeport Ca. The devastating fires of the last couple of years involving Middletown, Santa Rosa and now Lakeport and Upper Lake (the Mendocino Complex fire) are unprecedented in living memory.

“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”

Tragic, but that’s how I’d like to go.

Melony Bledsoe. They’ll be a Marine Corps Honor Guard to escort you through Heaven’s Gate.

The question of evacuation order delivery could be troubling.

Evacuation orders that were given to two of our family members were made well ahead of the fire’s advance. My first reaction was that they were a bit premature, but they were not. And their orders were given early. I suspect that after the Oroville Dam and Santa Rosa/Petaluma fire evacuations, the word to get out comes sooner than in past years. It makes for a better outcome for the population, and allows fire resources easier access.

The other aspect of living in/near wildlands is to know your neighbors and look out for them, and hopefully they will look out for you. The fire blew up quickly and embers flew downwind of initial attempts to create fire lines, pushed by strong winds.

Our sympathies are with the Bledsoe’s and others that have fallen.