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Crews report progress in fight against twin California fires

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Firefighters struggling to contain destructive Northern California wildfires found themselves facing a new blaze that erupted Tuesday and drove through a rural area near a national forest.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection say that another 440 buildings including barns and warehouses have also been destroyed by the fire.

Two firefighters were killed fighting the blaze and three people, perished when their Redding home was rapidly swallowed up by flames. They had cut containment lines around 35 percent of the fire's perimeter by Wednesday morning, up from 5 percent during much of the past week, even as the footprint of scorched landscape grew to about 181 square miles (469 square kilometers), an area larger than Detroit.

Burnt house and cars in the Keswick neighborhood of Redding, as the Carr fire continues to spreads towards the town of Douglas City near Redding, California on July 31, 2018.

"I told them to throw everything they care about in the back of the auto", said Lew, 45.

Twin fires in Mendocino and Lake Counties, 120 miles north of San Francisco, had burned through 125 square miles and destroyed several homes.

"We're advised that the fire was threatening structures", he said.

"The weather has really been working with us", said Jude Olivas, a spokesman for the interagency firefighting team.

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Officials said Monday that 723 homes have been destroyed by that fire, up from a previous count of 657 homes lost.

The conditions allowed some evacuees to return home but as many as 37,000 remained displaced. "It doesn't take anything to start a fire right now". He bought his three-bedroom house past year using a loan from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The fire was nearly 35 percent contained, and thousands of residents were allowed to return to their neighborhoods.

A relative identified one of the victims as Daniel Bush, 62. Redding Police on Tuesday asked for help from the public locating four people who are still missing.

Jason's wife of six years, 32-year-old Shyla Campbell, said it was almost 2am on Thursday when the inferno closed in on their hamlet near Redding and she got an official alert to evacuate.

It was the longest closure at Yosemite since 1997, when floods closed the park for over two months.

"We're turning the corner", he said, adding that he hates "saying those things (because) this thing has made me a liar so many times".

The east-west route in the park - Big Oak Flat Road, or California 120 West, to Crane Flat and Tioga Road, or California 120 East - remains open.

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