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US wildfire claims more lives

REDDING, California (Reuters) – A 70-year-old woman and her two great-grandchildren were among six killed when a wildfire raged through an area of northern California and engulfed entire communities, officials and family members said.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told a news conference near the city of Redding at the edge of the blaze on Sunday one more person had been killed in a residence consumed by fire, bringing the total to six, including two firefighters. He said the latest victim had not complied with an evacuation order. Bosenko said authorities were still looking for seven people after finding nine others who had been reported missing.

More than 38,000 people remained under evacuation orders on Sunday in and around Redding, a city of 90,000 people about 160 miles (257 km) north of the state capital Sacramento. Three bodies discovered at a fire-ravaged home on the outskirts of Redding were two children and their great-grandmother.

The victims identified by relatives on Facebook and in news media reports were James Roberts, 5, his sister Emily, 4, and their great grandmother, Melody Bledsoe, 70. Bledsoe’s granddaughter, Amanda Woodley, said on Facebook the elderly woman desperately put a wet blanket over the children as their home burned.

The Carr Fire, which has destroyed more than 650 homes, is the deadliest and most destructive of nearly 90 wildfires burning from Texas to Oregon. The blazes have killed four firefighters in California in a little more than two weeks after officials reported on Sunday the death of a firefighter battling a wildfire by Yosemite National Park.

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