Seven people have now been confirmed dead in a wildfire in Shasta County, California. The Carr Fire broke out on 23 July 2018, when sparks from the wheel rim of a trailer with a flat tyre dragging against a road ignited dry vegetation. The fire remained fairly small until 28 July, when rising winds began led to it growing and spreading rapidly, since when it has destroyed over a thousand homes, and claimed the lives of four residents of the area, two of them children, as well as two fire fighters and a utility worker attempting to restore power lines that had been earlier damaged by the fire.
Firefighters attempting to control the Carr Fire near Douglas City on 31 July 2018. Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.
The Carr Fire is one of a series of wildfires burning in California at the moment, these have a variety of causes and have been fuelled by dry winds blowing from the mountains in the northeast of the state, but are essentially due to a prolonged drought in the state, which has been experiencing dry conditions since 2011, the longest such drought in the state's recorded history. This drought has killed vegetation, including thousands of trees, across much of central California, providing dry tinder to fuel the fires, despite high rainfall that caused flooding in parts of the state in the winter of 2016-7. The draught has been made worse by the diversion of water to suit Human purposes, such as agriculture, industry and leisure, which has taken water away from other ecosystems, resulting in the build-up of dead, dry vegetation that has produced fuel for the fires.
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