Los Angeles Times

Carr fire in Redding moved faster than evacuation orders, leaving a deadly toll

REDDING, Calif. - The Carr fire swept into the edge of this city without mercy, leveling two neighborhoods on either side of the Sacramento River.

On the western side of the river, authorities began issuing warnings door to door in Keswick at least 30 minutes before homes started burning and up to 12 hours early for homes farther south.

On the other side, residents in areas such as Land Park and River Ridge were told to leave with no time to spare, if they got any warning at all. It was in this area of Redding where a great-grandmother and two young children died when they simply could not get out of town.

The difference in how evacuations were issued - and the deaths that followed - shows the huge challenge California is facing as fires get bigger, faster and increasingly destructive.

Officials said the system they used for evacuating neighbors in the path of the fire July 26 simply didn't account for the rapid change in its speed and behavior, which was marked by dramatic "fire tornadoes" that pushed the flames at more than 160 mph.

On one side of the river, the fire behaved in ways officials expected,

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