California firefighters make progress in battling deadly wildfire

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ABC News(REDDING, Calif.) -- Firefighters made progress in battling a deadly wildfire in Northern California on Sunday that has leveled hundreds of homes and forced thousands of residents to flee the area.

The Carr Fire was about 17 percent contained by Sunday evening, up from about 5 percent earlier in the day, as fire crews raced to smother the massive blaze, before the weather turned against them.

At least six people have died and more than 800 homes and buildings have been destroyed since the fire ignited last week, according to fire officials.

Among the dead were two firefighters, and a 70-year-old woman and her two great-grandchildren, who died when the fire swept through their home in Redding, California. The sixth victim, who was not identified, did not evacuate despite receiving an evacuation warning, authorities said.

The National Weather Service forecasts more hot and dry conditions for Monday along with high wind gusts, which could fan the flames further.

"Extreme fire conditions continued today while Firefighters worked to build control lines," Cal Fire said in a statement Sunday. "Shifting winds, dry fuels, and steep drainages contributed to rapid growth. Red Flag Warning and heat advisory are in effect for the area through Monday 8 a.m. Crews will continue to asses the number of damaged structures as conditions allow."

The fire, ignited by a vehicle on July 23, has scorched 95,368 acres of land, destroying 874 homes and buildings and damaging 175 others, authorities said Sunday, adding that about 5,000 structures were at risk.

About 38,500 residents were ordered to evacuate. Four evacuation centers have been opened in the area.

Nearly 3,400 firefighters are battling the blaze from the ground and in the air, as officials have deployed 17 helicopters, 334 fire engines, 68 bulldozers and 65 water tenders.

The Carr Fire was one several uncontained wildfires raging in California as the state deals with brutal temperatures and dry conditions.

Another large fire, dubbed the Ferguson Fire, has killed two people, both firefighters, and burned more than 54,481 acres in Mariposa County, California, near Yosemite National Park, authorities said. That fire was about 30 percent contained as of late Sunday.

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