REDDING, CA (CBSNewYork/CBSNews) – The Carr Fire in Northern California has now claimed five lives, including a woman and her two great grandchildren.
At 80,000 acres, it’s the largest of more than 20 wildfires burning across the state.
“We’re by no means out of the woods. We have areas that are still threatened, still evacuated,” said Jonathan Cox, of Cal Fire. “We’re really at the mercy of some of these high winds.”
Officials say the strong winds picked up, fanning the flames overnight, and the fire grew by 35 percent.
Some 37,000 residents have fled the fire zone. But other homeowners vowed to stay put as long as possible.
“I check it every once and a while and take a look to see if I can see anything active going on,” homeowner Martin Clark said.
Firefighters were also battling triple-digit heat, making it much harder to get the flames under control.
“It takes a lot of effort to pull your body through 110-degree weather and do the job that we’re supposed to be doing,” said Marc Ellsworth, with Eldorado Hotshots.
It was a heart-wrenching scene for families caught off guard by the fast-moving fire.
“I miss home, and I’m hoping that no one else loses their house or their life,” one woman said.
The wildfires have chewed through more than 160,000 acres.