Woman, Her Two Great-Grandchildren Found Dead In California Fire

Human remains believed to be that of a missing elderly woman and her two great-grandchildren were found at a home destroyed by a monster wildfire raging in Northern California, officials said on Saturday, raising the death toll from the blaze to five.
The three bodies have yet to be positively identified. But news of their discovery, confirmed by the Shasta County sheriff, came as some 3,500 firefighters struggled through a sixth day to corral fierce, erratic flames stoked by tinder-dry vegetation, high winds and triple-digit temperatures.
The Carr Fire has charred nearly 84,000 acres (34,000 hectares), an area nearly three times the size of San Francisco, since erupting on Monday near Redding, a city of 90,000 people about 160 miles (260 kms) north of the state capital Sacramento.
The blaze was one of about a dozen major wildfires burning across California on Saturday and of nearly 90 overall from Texas to Oregon.
Driven by gale-force winds Thursday night, it exploded into a firestorm that leaped the Sacramento River and engulfed whole neighborhoods in and around Redding, sending thousands of people fleeing for their lives in a chaotic evacuation.
A private bulldozer operator on the fire line and a Redding firefighter were killed in the conflagration. The nearby town of Keswick, with a population of about 450, was reduced to ash.
Some 500 structures were destroyed, and 38,000 people remained under evacuation orders as of Saturday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
On Saturday afternoon, Redding police said they were trying to locate 17 people reported missing by relatives or friends since Thursday night. Police Sergeant Todd Cogle said the number of those unaccounted for had fluctuated during the past two days – from as many as 20 to as few as 12 – as some who were reported missing turned up safe and others were added to the list.
Counted among them were the three victims whose bodies officials said were found at an incinerated home on the outskirts of Redding.
The Sacramento Bee newspaper said family members identified the dead as 70-year-old Melody Bledsoe, and her two great-grandchildren, James Roberts, 4, and Emily Roberts, 5.
The children’s mother, Sherry Bledsoe, was quoted by the newspaper as saying, “My kids are deceased, that’s all I can say,” as she left the sheriff’s office on Saturday.