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The scene in northern California is horrific.

The air chokes with the smell of smoke and chemicals, smoldering what's left of people's lives. The company has also teamed up with Tri Counties Bank to establish a general fund benefitting victims across Shasta County.

Somewhere in the ash was the home of Shyla and Jason Campbell.

About 12,000 firefighters were battling 17 significant fires Sunday in California, she said.

Mike Mangas, a spokesman at Mercy Medical Center, said the hospital was evacuating five babies in its neonatal intensive care unit, which cares for premature newborns, and taking them to medical facilities outside of the area.

But experts say this has been one of the worst starts to the fire season in 10 years - partly due to the 2012-2017 drought that killed off large amounts of vegetation. "And I'm like, 'No, it's going down the mountain and it's going to come back up the next ridge'".

The Carr Fire burns west of Redding, California, US July 28, 2018.

A Go Fund Me effort, launched overnight to help Ed Bledsoe, had raised nearly half its $30,000 goal by midday Sunday. More than 500 buildings - 300 of them homes - have been destroyed and 39,000 people have been evacuated in and around the city of Redding, north of Sacramento.

"It's tough", Shyla Campbell said Friday as she sheltered in the city of Shasta Lake. "I just keep seeing all of their attractive faces".

Redding sits on the Sacramento River about 170 miles north of the state capital and 120 miles south of the OR border. Almost 5,000 structures were threatened and the fire was just 5 percent contained.

Investigators said today they had recovered the body of a sixth person from the Carr fire.

Firefighters discuss plans while battling the Carr Fire in Shasta Calif. on Thursday
Firefighters discuss plans while battling the Carr Fire in Shasta Calif. on Thursday

"The boat docks down there - all the way out in the water - 30 to 40 boats caught fire when the fire laid down on top of them last night and burned those up", said fire Chief Mike Hebrard of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Despite the efforts of 3400 active fire personnel, the blaze is winning. Redding Fire Department Inspector Jeremy Stoke was also killed battling the blaze, officials said.

Elsewhere in the state, large fires continued to burn outside Yosemite National Park and in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs.

So far this year, wildfires have scorched nearly 1.7 million hectares across the United States, above the 1.5 million hectare average for the same period over the last decade.

Residents who gathered their belongings in haste described a chaotic and congested getaway as the embers blew up to a mile ahead of flames and the fire leaped across the wide Sacramento River and torched subdivisions in Redding, a city of 92,000 about 100 miles south of the OR border.

Redding police chief Roger Moore was among those who lost homes. It was so hot, they couldn't walk through it to see if anything survived. The San Bernardino County Fire Department was called in to tamp down smoking piles of debris that were scattered amid downed electricity lines.

"It's pretty emotional", Terri Hill said. "I know it's just stuff". A lot of memories.

The fatalities included two firefighters and a woman and her two great-grandchildren. She eventually jumped the curb onto the sidewalk and "booked it".

She expected to spend Saturday night at a shelter at Simpson College in Redding while she searches for another place to live.

The latest death in the city of Redding comes despite officials saying they were "optimistic" about the fires slowing down and that they were now "gaining ground". The fire - sparked by humans - has destroyed 13,130 acres and is 29 percent contained.

The Carr Fire, the name given to the Redding blaze, was one of three fierce blazes threatening large populated areas.

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