State fire officials have identified a sixth victim of the Carr Fire in Northern California, which they say has become the seventh most destructive wildfire in the Golden State’s history, destroying more than 900 homes.
Daniel Bush, 62, died last week as the fire swept through the Redding area, about 100 miles south of the Oregon border.
His sister, Kathi Gaston, told the Redding Record Searchlight that her brother had returned to his mobile home in Keswick, near Redding, last Tuesday after undergoing quadruple heart bypass surgery.
The Carr Fire came through the neighborhood Thursday. Gaston said her brother wasn't allowed to drive and couldn't evacuate without help, but she couldn't reach him because the roads to his home were blocked by sheriff's deputies.
“If we’d been able to go in when we wanted to, he’d be alive right now,” Gatson said. “I’m very upset about it.”
Gatson was holding onto hope that her brother might have made it to safety. However, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said during a news conference Sunday that the remains of a sixth person had been found in the home.
“There ain’t much left, just his hip bone,” Gaston told the paper. “At least we’ve got a little more closure. Now we know.”
Previously, two firefighters and two children and their great-grandmother were listed as fatalities in connection with the Carr Fire.
State officials pinned the cause of the Carr Fire on a “mechanical failure of a vehicle,” according to a statement released by Cal Fire. Further details were not immediately available.
More than 100,000 acres have been charred by the inferno.
New fires ignite
Meanwhile, a new fire ignited Tuesday afternoon near a national forest, state officials said, as thousands of firefighters are already contending with more than a dozen blazes.
The new blaze quickly gained intensity as gusty winds spurred the flames through brush and grasslands, as well as oak, pine and timber near the Mendocino National Forest, Mendocino County Undersheriff Matthew Kendall said.
An old ranching and farming community near Covelo, located in Northern California with about 60 homes, has been evacuated, as the fire “was threatening structures,” Kendall told the Associated Press.
There were no immediate reports of homes being destroyed, and air support was called in to assist the new fire, however, it was unclear when they firefighting aircraft will arrive as many are already tied up in other fire, Kendall said.
Fire officials said two blazes about 40 miles to the south in Mendocino and Lake counties had destroyed at least seven homes and threatened an estimated 12,000 more.
Another fire erupted Tuesday night to the east in Sutter County, however no homes were evacuated, state fire spokesman Scott McLean said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.