Mother who was jailed for refusing to vaccinate son: I would 'do it all over again'

The Michigan mother who was sentenced to jail last week for refusing a court order to vaccinate her son — and who has since lost primary custody of her son — said she would “do it all over again.”

“I was trying to protect my kids,” Rebecca Bredow, who lives in the Detroit area, told ABC News. “I was trying to stand up for what I believed in, and it was worth it for me to try and take the risk, because I was trying to stop the vaccinations from happening.”

“Never in a million years did I ever think that I would end up in jail standing up to try to protect my kids, and standing up for my beliefs,” Bredow added.

She said her time in jail “was the longest five days of my life.”

Despite losing primary custody of her son, spending five days in jail, and the fact that her son was vaccinated anyway, Bredow said standing up for her beliefs “was worth it.”

Last week, a judge sentenced Bredow to seven days in jail for refusing to bring her son’s vaccinations up to date. Prior to going to jail, Bredow told ABC News that she and her then-husband, Jason Horne, had initially agreed to space out vaccinations for their young son. She and Horne separated in 2008, and she said last week that Horne now wanted their son to receive all of his vaccinations, and she refused.

There are no known benefits for children from delaying vaccines, according to the The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children who delay vaccines are also at risk of developing diseases during the time that they delay their vaccinations, the CDC added.

Young children also have the highest risk of developing a serious case of disease, according to the CDC, and delaying vaccines leaves children vulnerable at the time when they need the most protection from vaccines.

Bredow said that her 9-year-old son’s understanding of the situation is limited.

“The court has ordered that I’m not allowed to speak with him about it which is kind of hard, he’s almost 10-years-old so he understands more than the court would say I’m allowed to explain to him,” Bredow said. “I don’t know what his father has said to him, so I don’t know what he’s thinking right now.”

Bredow said she has received an “overwhelming amount of support” from her community. “It’s helped me get through this, truly,” she added.

Benton G. Richardson, a lawyer for Bredow’s ex-husband declined ABC News’ request for comment Thursday, but said in a statement last week that “this case is not truly about vaccinations.”

Richardson added that Bredow and Horne have been embroiled in an ongoing legal battle, and a court sided with Horne in November 2016, ordering Bredow to vaccinate her son.

Court documents obtained by ABC News state that a court first asked Bredow to get immunizations for her son in November 2016, but state that as of September 2017 the child had not been vaccinated.

“It is our position that this case is not truly about vaccinations,” Richardson said. “It is a case about Ms. Bredow refusing to comport with any number of the court’s orders and actively seeking to frustrate Mr. Horne’s joint legal custody rights.”

Bredow denied the claims of her ex-husband’s attorney.

“I have been the primary caregiver of my child since he was born this was not leverage in any way,” she said.

Bredow said she is planning on appealing and gaining back primary custody of her son.

The state of Michigan allows parents to opt-out of certain vaccines for non-medical reasons. The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, emphasizes the safety and importance of vaccines in a statement on their website.

“Vaccines have been part of the fabric of our society for decades and are the most significant medical innovation of our time,” the group said. “Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives.”

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New Orleans police officer shot and killed while on patrol

A New Orleans police officer was shot and killed early Friday, ambushed while getting out of a patrol car to investigate something which had aroused suspicions on the city’s east side, police said.

The accused shooter, a man believed to be 30 years old, was also shot when officers returned fire, Police Superintendent Michael Harrison told reporters at an early morning news conference.

At least one — possibly two — officers returned fire “and our officer collapsed right there on the scene,” Harrison said.

“They were on routine patrol,” he said. “They saw something that aroused their suspicion. They were exiting the vehicle and upon exiting the vehicle what we have learned is that this perpetrator fired at our officer, striking our officer.”

The suspect fled inside an apartment, which was then surrounded by a SWAT team, Harrison said. The police department’s negotiation team was also called to the apartment and negotiations with the accused gunman eventually led to a peaceful surrender, he said.

“We have lost one of our brothers. NOPD grieves this morning,” the New Orleans Police Department said in a pre-dawn tweet.

“We are all grieving,” Harrison told reporters. “Our department is grieving, our city is grieving and this family is grieving so we ask the city to pray for us and keep us in our thoughts and prayers.”

The accused gunman was taken to a hospital with several gunshot wounds, Harrison said.

“There are a lot of officers that knew this officer really, really well and the entire department when this happens is in trauma and of course it strikes at the heart of the city,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told reporters.

“We talk to these officers at their graduation and of course we say this all the time about how dangerous this job really is and unfortunately tonight our worst nightmares have come to be,” Landrieu said.

At this stage in the investigation, police believe there was only one gunman involved, Harrison said. Police didn’t immediately identify the officer or the suspected gunman.

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At least 31 dead in horrific California wildfires, hundreds missing

Massive wildfires sweeping through California have killed at least 31 people and damaged thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings, authorities said.

More than half of the deaths occurred in Sonoma County alone, officials said. Taken together, the death toll from this week’s fires exceeds the number of fatalities in the 1933 Griffith Park Fire in Los Angeles, the deadliest wildfire in California history.

Firefighters were still battling 21 large wildfires in multiple counties as of Thursday morning. Intensified by strong winds, the flames have charred more than 190,000 acres of land, damaged or destroyed at least 3,500 structures and forced more than 20,000 residents to evacuate, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Containment of the fire has increased, and weather conditions are expected to improve overnight, officials said Thursday.

The causes of the fires is still under investigation.

More than 8,000 firefighters and support personnel are battling the fires, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties in Northern California.

With firefighters stretched thin throughout the state, federal agencies as well as neighboring Nevada and nearby Washington state are assisting with resources. Authorities said 1,000 fire departments from San Diego to Oregon have joined the effort. Requests for resources have also gone out to Idaho, Montana, North and South Carolina, New Mexico, Arizona, as well as Australia, said Mark Ghilarducci, director of California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

About 400 people were unaccounted for in Sonoma County as of Thursday morning, according to the sheriff’s office. Out of about 1,000 missing people reports that have been filed since the fires began, about 600 people have been safely located, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday afternoon. Officials said some of the reports of missing persons may be duplicates.

At least 7,000 people were without power Wednesday in Napa County.

In the wake of the fires, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday morning that it has arrested five people for looting in evacuation areas.

Three of the individuals were Santa Rosa natives who were arrested and booked on a number of offenses. A 28-year-old man was found with two stolen bikes as well as narcotics, police said. A 48-year-old woman and a 49-year-old woman were also arrested, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department.

In the city of Santa Rosa, 2,834 homes had been destroyed. Critical infrastructure was also lost in the blaze, including the fire station, Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey said Thursday afternoon.

With mandatory evacuation orders still in place, many residents in the affected areas have been warned not to return to their homes until further notice.

“Life is more important than property,” Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said at a press conference Tuesday.

He said he thinks the wildfires will be “one of the worst natural disasters in California history.”

Here’s a roundup of the main fires threatening the state:

The so-called Atlas, Nuns, Patrick and Pressley fires are considered branches of one giant blaze in Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties — collectively known as the Southern LNU Complex — according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Mandatory evacuations and road closures were underway in Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties, the heart of California’s wine country, as the flames threatened thousands of structures.

The Atlas fire has scorched 43,762 acres in Napa and Solano counties since the inferno began Sunday night, and just 3 percent of the blaze was contained Wednesday night. The enormous fire has destroyed 125 structures.

The Nuns fire has charred 14,698 acres in Sonoma County since Sunday night. It was just 3 percent contained Thursday morning.

The Patrick fire has burned 10,817 acres in Napa County since Sunday night, and only 2 percent of it was contained Thursday afternoon.

The Adobe fire has singed 9,004 acres in Sonoma County. Just 1 percent of it was contained as of Wednesday night.

The Norbbom fire has scorched 4,331 acres in Sonoma County, and only 1 percent of it was contained Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the Pressley fire has charred 473 acres in Sonoma County. It was just 1 percent contained Wednesday night.

The Tubbs and Pocket fires make up another enormous blaze, known as the the Central LNU Complex, in Napa and Sonoma counties, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. More than 16,000 structures are threatened.

The Tubbs fire has burned 34,270 acres in Napa County since Sunday night, and it was 10 percent contained Thursday morning. The fire has destroyed 571 structures. Most of the deaths were due to the Tubbs fire, authorities said.

Meanwhile, the Pocket fire has singed 8,130 acres in Sonoma County since Monday morning.

The Redwood/Potter fires and the Sulphur fire make up a giant blaze, known as the Mendocino Lake Complex, in Lake and Mendocino counties, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Redwood/Potter fires have scorched 32,100 acres in Mendocino County since Sunday night. It was just 5 percent contained Thursday morning.

The Sulphur fire has charred 2,500 acres in Lake County since late Sunday night, and 45 percent of it was contained by Thursday morning.

The Cascade, La Porte, Lobo and McCourtney fires make up one huge blaze in Butte, Nevada and Yuba counties, collectively known as the Wind Complex, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Cascade fire has burned 10,171 acres in Yuba County since it began Sunday morning. It was 45 percent contained by Thursday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

La Porte fire has singed 6,059 acres in Butte County since the blaze ignited early Monday morning and was 25 percent contained Thursday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Lobo fire has scorched 829 acres in Nevada County since early Monday morning. It was 52 percent contained Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, the McCourtney fire has charred 76 acres in Nevada County since early Monday morning, and 89 percent of it was contained Thursday morning.

The Canyon 2 fire has burned 9,217 acres in Southern California’s Orange County since the flames started Monday morning. It was 60 percent contained by Thursday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

At least 3,000 residents were evacuated in and around Anaheim as thousands of structures were threatened by the blaze.

The Cherokee fire has singed 8,360 acres in Butte County since Sunday night and was 60 percent contained Thursday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The 37 fire has scorched 1,660 acres in Sonoma County since it started Monday afternoon. It was 70 percent contained by Wednesday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

A cold front swept through much of California on Wednesday, bringing more gusty winds and lower humidity, according to ABC News meteorologists.

Winds were expected to continue to be gusty on Thursday, with some up to 50 mph in central California. Relative humidity will be in the teens in central and northern California and in the single digits in Southern California.

These winds will continue through Saturday as a second cold front approaches the region, meteorologists said.

The weather conditions have local authorities concerned about “aggressive” fire behavior.

The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for Central and Northern California for Wednesday through Thursday. Fire weather watches were issued for Southern California for Thursday through Saturday. An air quality alert was also issued for central California.

As firefighters work to snuff the raging blazes, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum told ABC News officials have asked everyone to “help us out.”

Crum confirmed that the alert system put in place gave residents ample time to evacuate and likely prevented many deaths.

“We have a subscription service where we can alert our residents, and we did that right away, trying to notify everybody where the fire was, where it was going and how fast it was going, and I think it saved a lot of lives,” he said.

The sheriff’s sergeant conceded that it could take a long time for communities to bounce back.

“We have a lot of rebuilding here,” Crum said.

Santa Rosa resident Jeff Okrepkie said he fled his home of five years knowing that it could very well be leveled when he returned.

“All that good stuff, I’m never going to see it again,” he told ABC’s San Francisco station KGO on Monday.

Okrepkie said he and his wife tried their best to gather their most precious documents, photos and mementos, but it was impossible to grab everything in time.

Mike Turpen, 38, said he was at a bar in the Glen Ellen area of Sonoma County when someone stormed in wearing a smoke mask and yelled, “Fire!” He said he drove through the flames in his pickup truck with hopes of saving his home.

Turpen said his yard was scorched and still flaming in some spots, but he managed to keep his home from burning down.

“It was like Armageddon was on,” Turpen told KGO. “Every branch of every tree was on fire.”

Chris Canning, mayor of the city of Calistoga, said that while there has been no fire activity within city limits, residents are still being urged to evacuate.

“Your presence in Calistoga is not welcome if you are not a first responder,” Canning said in a press conference Thursday morning, according to the Napa Valley Register. “Your choice to stay, and there have been very few of them, is a distraction to our first responders. You will not be given life safety support at this point. You are on your own.”

ABC News’ Matt Foster, Max Golembo, Jenna Harrison, Marilyn Heck, M.L. Nestel, Rex Sakamoto and Ginger Zee contributed to this report.

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Boy's body found after 3 adults slain; manhunt underway

A 7-year-old boy was shot dead and his body apparently hidden in a home where three adults were found fatally shot and a fourth was stabbed, a sheriff said Thursday as a manhunt for the suspect focused on a wooded area near Ohio’s southern tip.

Authorities had issued a missing-child alert after the slayings and spent hours searching for Devin Holston only to find the child dead Thursday at the same house trailer where the bodies were found.

The suspect, 23-year-old Arron Lawson, is being sought on warrants for charges including aggravated murder, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeffery Lawless said.

Deputies spotted Lawson around 12:30 a.m. Thursday in a blue truck in Ironton, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of where the victims were found, but they lost him after a brief chase when he crashed into a ditch and ran into the woods, Lawless said.

Lawless told the Ironton Tribune that all those involved were somehow related.

Three adults were found dead in a house trailer in an unincorporated area further north on Wednesday evening, and a fourth adult who came upon the scene after work was stabbed there and fled to seek help, the sheriff said. The wounded person was later flown to a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.

None of the dead adults or injured victim has been identified. The sheriff’s office said releasing further information would compromise the investigation.

Agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, including crime-scene and cybe-unit investigators, are assisting Lawrence County with the case, said Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman for BCI and the state attorney general’s office.

Lawless said schools in the Rock Hill district were closed Thursday because of the attacks.

The initial report about the slayings — violence against multiple people found at properties of related residents — recalled details from a still-unsolved homicide case that rattled rural southern Ohio last year. But investigators have no indication of a connection between the cases, Del Greco said.

The deaths on Wednesday occurred roughly 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of the Piketon area, where eight people from the Rhoden family were found shot to death in four homes in April 2016.

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Associated Press writer Mark Gillispie in Cleveland contributed to this report.

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Find Kantele Franko on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/kantele10 and her work at http://bit.ly/2qEaebN .

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This story has been corrected to show the sheriff now says the boy was 7, not 8.

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This story has been corrected to show the sheriff now says the spelling of the suspect’s first name is Arron, not Aaron.

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At Mandalay Bay, precious minutes passed before first call to police in shooting

The first report from a maintenance man that a gunman was firing down the hall of the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel was not relayed to Las Vegas police until after the gunman had already begun his deadly rampage on the concert audience below, according to a person who has reviewed the records and spoke to ABC News on the condition of confidentiality.

Officials estimate the hotel’s delay in reporting the incident in which a hotel security guard was shot lasted about six minutes. But in a statement, hotel officials say that timeline “may not be accurate.”

The new details of the moments before the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history came as the lawyer for one victim began asking the first uneasy questions as part of what is expected to be a rash of victims’ lawsuits focused on the initial response by Mandalay Bay casino officials.

“Was 911 called? The whole chain of command seemed to be broken down here,” said Mohammed “Mo” Aziz, a lawyer hired by shooting victim Paige Gasper. “For six minutes nothing happened, and then this criminal started shooting at innocent people.”

The lawyer’s questions Tuesday have put a new focus on the still-murky timeline for the moments leading up to the shooting. The shifting accounts from authorities first indicated a casino security guard was the last person to be shot before the shooter took his own life. Then they said he was the first to be injured. Now the sheriff says the timeline is being revised yet again.

Sources close to Mandalay Bay told ABC News Tuesday the response by casino staff was swift and saved lives. The first call from hotel, the sources said, did not go out to police until after the rampage was underway – about six minutes after the initial hallway confrontation. And officers did not reach the 32nd floor suite of retired commercial property owner and frequent gambler Stephen Paddock until after the shooting had stopped.

New audio recordings made public by the hotel’s corporate owner, MGM Resorts, capture the moments when a hotel maintenance man, Steve Schuck, called in the first report of trouble.

“Call the police,” Schuck tells hotel security. “Someone’s fired a gun up here. Someone’s fired a rifle on the 32nd floor down the hallway.”

But neither the police account of the ensuing moments nor publicly transmitted police radio traffic indicate when the hotel security office dialed 911.

Approximately six minutes after Schuck made the request for help from police, Paddock began pouring rifle fire on concertgoers down on the Route 91 country music festival, 32 floors below. Officers did not reach the 32nd floor until at least 18 minutes after security guard Jesus Campos was shot in the thigh, and they appeared to have no idea he had been wounded at all before finding him.

“They weren’t aware of him being shot until they met him in the hallway after exiting the elevator,” said Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo.

“We have a security officer also shot in the leg on the 32nd floor. He’s standing right by the elevator,” a Las Vegas Metro policeman radioed, in a recorded transmission 20 minutes after Campos was hit by Paddock’s gunfire.

Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts told reporters Monday that police are still studying the timeline, but he does not think the lag was long under the circumstances.

“I don’t think the delay, or the time lapse is that long — in my opinion,” Roberts said. “I think the security guard saved a lot of lives — he interrupted this guy and sped up his plan, in my opinion.”

In part, the response time may have been slowed by a decision to shut down the elevators, a move by hotel management described by Schuck in an NBC News interview. Some police had to climb an unknown number of flights of stairs carrying weapons and body armor.

At 10:16 p.m., an officer radioed his dispatch to “contact Mandalay Bay and have ’em shut down their elevators so he [the gunman] can’t get mobile and we can take the stairs and block all the stair exits.”

One officer was later heard on police radio traffic breathing heavily and announcing he’d made it up to the same level the gunfire was erupting from. “I’m in a stairwell on the 32nd floor,” he says in a hushed voice.

Sgt. Mike Quick, a retired Las Vegas SWAT team veteran, said the Mandalay Bay is a sprawling property, with a number of impediments. “That’s a 3,000-plus room casino hotel, I mean that’s a major resort eating up acres and acres of property. So just parking and getting through the front doors is going to be an exercise in time.”

Marshalling an elevator could have taken time, he said. But climbing the stairs was an “extreme challenge.”

MGM Resorts spokesperson Debra DeShong issued a statement Tuesday in response to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Paige Gasper.

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At least 23 dead in horrific California wildfires, hundreds missing

Massive wildfires sweeping through California have killed at least 23 people and damaged thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings, authorities said.

Firefighters were still battling 22 wildfires in multiple counties as of Thursday morning. Intensified by strong winds, the flames have charred more than 170,000 acres of land, damaged or destroyed at least 3,500 structures and forced nearly 20,000 residents to evacuate, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The causes of the fires are unknown.

At least 8,000 firefighters and support personnel are battling the fires, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties in Northern California.

With firefighters stretched thin throughout the state, federal agencies as well as neighboring Nevada and nearby Washington state are assisting with resources. Authorities said 1,000 fire departments from San Diego to Oregon have joined the effort.

St. Joseph Health said 168 patients have been treated, many for burns and smoke inhalation, at three of its hospitals in Napa and Sonoma counties as of Monday night.

An additional 285 people were missing in Sonoma County as of Wednesday night, according to the sheriff’s office. There have been 600 total missing reports since the fires began, but 315 have those have been located safe.

Meanwhile, at least 7,000 people were without power Wednesday in Napa County alone.

In the wake of the fires, the Santa Rosa Police Department announced Wednesday night that they have arrested three people for looting. The individuals, all Santa Rosa natives, were arrested and booked on a number of offenses. One of those looters, Patrick Daly, 28, was found with two stolen bikes as well as narcotics, police said. A 48-year-old woman and a 49-year-old woman were also arrested.

With mandatory evacuation orders still in place, many residents in the affected areas have been warned not to return to their homes until further notice.

“Life is more important than property,” Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said at a press conference Tuesday.

He said he thinks the wildfires will be “one of the worst natural disasters in California history.”

Here’s a roundup of the main fires threatening the state:

The so-called Atlas, Nuns, Patrick and Pressley fires are considered branches of one giant blaze in Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties — collectively known as the Southern LNU Complex — according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Mandatory evacuations and road closures were underway in Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties, the heart of California’s wine country, as the flames threatened thousands of structures.

The Atlas fire has scorched 42,349 acres in Napa and Solano counties since the inferno began Sunday night, and just 3 percent of the blaze was contained Wednesday night. The enormous fire has destroyed 125 structures.

The Nuns fire has charred 8,476 acres in Sonoma County since Sunday night. It was just 2 percent contained Wednesday night.

The Patrick fire has burned 9,523 acres in Napa County since Sunday night, and only 2 percent of it was contained Wednesday night.

The Adobe fire has singed 9,004 acres in Sonoma County. Just 1 percent of it was contained as of Wednesday night.

The Norrbom fire has scorched 4,331 acres in Sonoma County, and only 1 percent of it was contained Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the Pressley fire has charred 473 acres in Sonoma County. It was just 1 percent contained Wednesday night.

The Tubbs and Pocket fires make up another enormous blaze, known as the the Central LNU Complex, in Napa and Sonoma counties, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. More than 16,000 structures are threatened.

The Tubbs fire has burned 27,363 acres in Napa County since Sunday night, and it was 10 percent contained Wednesday night. The fire has destroyed 571 structures, and is just 10 percent contained, authorities said. Most of the deaths were due to the Tubbs fire.

Meanwhile, the Pocket fire has singed 4,000 acres in Sonoma County since Monday morning.

The Redwood/Potter fires and the Sulphur fire make up a giant blaze, known as the Mendocino Lake Complex, in Lake and Mendocino counties, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Redwood/Potter fires have scorched 30,000 acres in Mendocino County since Sunday night. It was just 5 percent contained Wednesday night.

The Sulphur fire has charred 2,500 acres in Lake County since late Sunday night, and 45 percent of it was contained by Wednesday night.

The Cascade, La Porte, Lobo and McCourtney fires make up one huge blaze in Butte, Nevada and Yuba counties, collectively known as the Wind Complex, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Cascade fire has burned 12,399 acres in Yuba County since it began Sunday morning. It was 20 percent contained by Wednesday night, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

La Porte fire has singed 3,700 acres in Butte County since the blaze ignited early Monday morning and was 15 percent contained Wednesday night, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Lobo fire has scorched 857 acres in Nevada County since early Monday morning. It was 30 percent contained Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the McCourtney fire has charred 76 acres in Nevada County since early Monday morning, and 65 percent of it was contained Wednesday night.

The Canyon 2 fire has burned 9,214 acres in Southern California’s Orange County since the flames started Monday morning. It was 60 percent contained by Wednesday night, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

At least 3,000 residents were evacuated in and around Anaheim as thousands of structures were threatened by the blaze.

The Cherokee fire has singed 8,360 acres in Butte County since Sunday night and was 45 percent contained Wednesday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The 37 fire has scorched 1,660 acres in Sonoma County since it started Monday afternoon. It was 70 percent contained by Wednesday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

A cold front swept through much of California on Wednesday, bringing more gusty winds and lower humidity, according to ABC News meteorologists.

Winds were expected to continue to be gusty on Thursday, with some up to 50 mph in central California. Relative humidity will be in the teens in central and northern California and in the single digits in southern California.

These winds will continue through Saturday as the cold front moves through the region, meteorologists said.

The weather conditions have local authorities concerned about “aggressive” fire behavior.

The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for Central and Northern California for Wednesday through Thursday. Fire weather watches were issued for Southern California for Thursday through Saturday. An air quality alert was also issued for central California.

As firefighters work to snuff the raging blazes, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum told ABC News the county has asked everyone to “help us out.”

Crum confirmed that the alert system put in place gave residents ample time to evacuate and likely prevented many deaths.

“We have a subscription service where we can alert our residents, and we did that right away, trying to notify everybody where the fire was, where it was going and how fast it was going, and I think it saved a lot of lives,” he said.

The sheriff’s sergeant conceded that it could take a long time for communities to bounce back.

“We have a lot of rebuilding here,” Crum said.

Santa Rosa resident Jeff Okrepkie said he fled his home of five years knowing that it could very well be leveled when he returned.

“All that good stuff, I’m never going to see it again,” he told ABC’s San Francisco station KGO on Monday.

Okrepkie said he and his wife tried their best to gather their most precious documents, photos and mementos, but it was impossible to grab everything in time.

Mike Turpen, 38, said he was at a bar in the Glen Ellen area of Sonoma County when someone stormed in wearing a smoke mask and yelled, “Fire!” He said he drove through the flames in his pickup truck with hopes of saving his home.

Turpen said his yard was scorched and still flaming in some spots, but he managed to keep his home from burning down.

“It was like Armageddon was on,” Turpen told KGO. “Every branch of every tree was on fire.”

ABC News’ Matt Foster, Max Golembo, Jenna Harrison, Marilyn Heck, M.L. Nestel, Rex Sakamoto and Ginger Zee contributed to this report.

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