A structure burns as the Carr Fire races along Highway 299 near Redding, Calif., on Thursday, July 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A structure burns as the Carr Fire races along Highway 299 near Redding, Calif., on Thursday, July 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Sunshine Coast locals flee inferno

SUNSHINE Coast locals have evacuated after a massive bushfire in California which has already burnt down homes and cost lives.

Local news media in the area reported dozens of homes had been destroyed by the Carr Fire.

At least two firefighters had been killed, while others had been injured fighting the massive blaze.

Locals reports about 45,000 acres had been consumed and the fire was only at 3% containment. 

Redding Fire Department inspector Jeremy Stoke was killed while battling the fire, Record Searchlight, part of the USA Today network, reported.

"With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Fire Inspector Jeremy Stoke. Jeremy died while battling the Carr Fire," Redding Fire Department announced on Facebook.

"We ask for your thoughts and prayers for his family and the RFD as we process this tragic loss. More information will be released as it becomes available.

The Los Angeles Times earlier reported the fire 'barrelled into the city of Redding" on Thursday night (US time).

"The fire destroyed at least 15 structures in Shasta County, but that number is expected to rise dramatically as the blaze moved toward subdivisions and other populated areas. Officials were urging residents to flee the path of the fire, where hundreds of homes were under threat,'' the Times reported.

Redding, a city of 90,000 people, is home to Bethel church, headed by Bill Johnson, which has an international reputation for Christian worship music.

Students from around the world travel there to learn from some of the best musicians and singers in Christian music.

Nic Mathieson, who hails from Nambour's FlameTree church, is in Redding.

He said he had not yet evacuated but others had.

"We packed our bags ready to leave. But we're able to stay at a friends and waited to see if we needed to. A lot of my friends in the centre of Redding were evacuated."

The Daily understands a number of former Sunshine Coast families living in the area have been safely evacuated to a refuge centre in Sacramento.

On the church's Facebook page, Mr Mathieson reported: "The fire has spread to approx 29,000 acres. My wife and I lost our power in Shasta Lake. People are going a little crazy. You can feel the fear of the people in the atmosphere. But we are coming against it! Some parts of Redding have now been evacuated and the fire has jumped the Sacramento River. "

Later he reported the winds had subsided and the fire appeared to be slowing a little.

"Updates for Redding are difficult to find. But a lot of the major road were evacuated. Leading close to the Bethel campus' on Lake Blvd and Twin View.

"Evacuations have been called for people as far north as Pine Grove Ave and along Lake Blvd to Shasta Dam.

"As of now the power has been turned off in Redding to help the fire fighters combat the blaze."

"I've heard of two deaths of bulldozer operators and one fire fighter. So please pray for their families as well as the fighters that will continue through the night. "

Mercy Medical Center was earlier reporting it was evacuating NICU babies from the hospital.

A local television station, KRCR News, cut off its live coverage so that anchors and other employees could evacuate.

Authorities confirmed a private bulldozer operator, was killed late Thursday as the fire grew to more than 28,000 acres.

The fire had jumped the Sacramento River.

Earlier, another bulldozer operator died fighting the Ferguson fire near Yosemite.

Action News Now reported a short time ago, that further areas were being evacuated in Redding.

Cal Fire Shasta County has issued an updated mandatory evacuation list:

Pine Grove Ave. north of Lake Boulevard to Shasta Dam incorporating Summit City, North Belt Line and Flannigan Road.

The intersection of Placer Road and Buenaventura Blvd west to Thompson Lane

Buenaventura Blvd from Placer Road to Westside Road

Westside Road to Keyon Drive incorporating Country Heights and West Redding neighborhood

Buenaventura Blvd to Hwy 299 to Placer Road

Placer Road from Buenaventura Blvd to Cloverdale Road

Cloverdale Road from Placer Road to Clear Creek Road

Clear Creek Road west from Cloverdale Road to Honey Bee Road