Sheriff: Death Toll Climbs to 48 in Northern California Wildfire

Pauline Gross
November 14, 2018

Thousands of firefighters battled blazes in northern and southern California as body recovery teams searched the remains of houses and charred cars for victims of the deadliest wildfires in the history of the USA state.

"The fire was so rapid, we couldn't keep ahead of it", Honea said. The Woolsey fire in the south has so far killed two people and damaged a number of beach resorts. "God Bless all of the victims and families affected".

The Woolsey Fire has torched 97,620 acres in Ventura and Los Angeles counties after starting on Thursday, and was 47 percent contained today.

The number of homes and other structures destroyed had reached 435.

An additional three firefighters were injured and 227 people remain unaccounted for, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea. "If you've been up there, you also know the magnitude of the scene we're dealing with". Almost a week later, more than 100 people remain missing. "Because I know the toll it takes on loved ones".

On Sunday, he had told reporters that with the level of destruction, "Camp Fire" brought upon the county, "it's very hard to determine whether or not there may be human remains there".

Below are before and after images from Paradise showing the level of devastation the town has suffered.

Fire officials said they had success as the weather conditions that had made the fires so prone to spread eased somewhat, but that lingering swirling winds and the steep terrain where they are working present challenges. "Steep terrain, limited access, and extreme fire behavior will continue to challenge crews".

The announcement came Tuesday after authorities ramped up the search for more victims buried in rubble left by the blaze that incinerated the town of Paradise. Overall, 10 sets of remains were found in Paradise and three in neighboring Concow.

Authorities have requested that 100 National Guard troops join cadaver dogs, mobile morgues and anthropology teams in the grim search and recovery of human remains in the wreckage.

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Some of the missing are not on the list, said Sol Bechtold, who is searching for his 75-year-old mother, Joanne Caddy, whose house burned down along with the rest of her neighborhood in Magalia, just north of Paradise, the town of 27,000 that was consumed by flames last week.

The news was likewise more upbeat on the southern end of California's wildfire front, where a blaze called the Woolsey Fire has killed two people, destroyed more than 400 structures and displaced some 200,000 people in the mountains and foothills near the Malibu coast west of Los Angeles. Tuesday, accusing the utility of negligence and blaming it for the fire.

A new fire broke out in Fontana Tuesday night, growing rapidly due to strong Santa Ana winds.

Aerial video from Sky5 showed large flames burning along a brush-covered hillside.

"We're fine, we got very, very lucky".

Meanwhile, some residents filed a lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), alleging the company was negligent and caused the fire (pdf).

The Camp Fire began on Thursday, November 8, at 6:29 a.m. PST, in Butte County, California.

The company had reported an incident with a power line in the area where the Camp Fire started just minutes before the blaze was spotted, U.S. media say.

A volunteer search and rescue crew from Calaveras County comb through a home destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, Nov. 13, 2018. But the death toll was all but certain to rise.

Other reports by GizPress

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