California wildfires tend to come in one of two forms, including wind-driven fires and plume-dominated fires. While a wind-dominated fire is self-explanatory, a plume-dominated fire is when smoke and ash is large enough to take control of the fire. Wind has been a factor in the Carr wildfire, which has destroyed 65 homes. According to the L.A. Times, the Carr fire is so intense it has created its own weather.
The death toll resulting from the wildfire has risen to five after three family members near Redding, who had been missing, were found dead.
According to ABC 7 News, Sherry Bledsoe revealed that her two young children and their grandmother were found dead. The dead family members were later identified as 70-year-old Melody Bledsoe and her great-grandchildren and Sherry’s children, 5-year-old James Roberts and 4-year-old Emily Roberts.
Members of the family had been desperately looking for the children and grandmother since the home they were stranded at was leveled by the California wildfire on Thursday.
ABC 7 News reports the father and husband was at the store collecting supplies when he received a phone call from his 5-year-old. James told his father he needed to come home because the fire was approaching the house. Sometime after the phone call, the house was completely engulfed in flames.
According to Mike Mohler, the deputy communications director for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the quick moving wildfire jumped the Sacramento River before racing in several different directions. This created a few different fire whirls, making the wildfire difficult to manage.
Redding is populated by roughly 90,000 people, with the Sacramento River on one side and oak trees and grassland on the other. The extreme summer heat is also playing a factor in the intense wildfire. During this time of the year, the heat is always brutal. Temperatures were reported as high as 113 degrees on the day the grandmother and two children went missing. The extreme heat causes the fire to suck all of the moisture out of the plants making them dry and more susceptible to fire. The heat also further dries out dead limbs and plants, making them kindle for the spread of a wildfire.
According to Dave Sapsis, a state wildfire specialist, it is wildfire season in California. However, the wildfire activity they have seen thus far is usually a little more typical of the month of August than July.
The combination of the pyrocumulus clouds and dropping temperatures at night are making things really dangerous for everyone in the area, L.A. Times reports.