Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Guard Troops Search for More Dead in Aftermath of California Wildfire

A member of the Sacramento County Coroner's office looks for human remains in the rubble of a house in Paradise JOHN LOCHER APA member of the Sacramento County Coroner's office looks for human remains in the rubble of a house in Paradise
| 15 November, 2018, 07:26

At least 44 deaths have been reported so far from the late-season wildfires and with hundreds of people unaccounted for the toll is likely to rise, as thousands of tired firefighters waged a pitched battle against the deadliest infernos in California's history.

Authorities believe a spark on Camp Creek Road, to the west of Paradise, and El Diablo autumn winds gusting up to 80 kilometres per hour started the most destructive and deadly wildfires in California history.

And Magalia, California, resident Lorrie Lundy says the area utility Pacific Gas & Electric is in part responsible for the Camp Fire.

The sheriff said he also has requested three portable morgue teams from the USA military, a "disaster mortuary" crew and an unspecified number of cadaver dog units to assist in the search for human remains.

"I've never been to an incident with this much destruction and the complexity that's tied to it", says 30-year veteran Dave Russell of Cal Fire, the state's forestry and fire protection agency.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visited the communities affected by the fire on Wednesday alongside California Gov.

Overnight, the Camp Fire had grown 5,000 acres to 135,000, even though diminished winds and rising humidity on Tuesday had allowed firefighting crews to set up containment lines.

"I was like, 'I think I'm done, '" said Allyn Pierce, a nurse who fled the fire in Paradise in his truck. More than 130,000 acres have been burned in the blaze, which was only 35 percent contained at the time of the news conference.

A team from NASA has created maps using satellite data that show the areas most damaged by the ongoing Woolsey and Camp wildfires, the deadliest in the state's history.

Authorities have not updated the total number of missing since Sunday, when 228 people were unaccounted for.


"Look for skulls, the big bones", one forensics worker said to others as they used metal poles and their hands to sift through ruins.

That blaze has scorched 39,000 hectares of chaparral-covered rolling hills and canyons spanning Ventura and Los Angeles counties, an area roughly the size of Denver.

Honea said that of the 56 human remains found in his county, 47 had been identified.

Stocks of California's two largest energy companies fell sharply on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported, as investors anxious about where blame for the deadly fire will fall.

"If my dad hadn't have come home from work when he did, I probably wouldn't have gotten out of there, because I wouldn't have known", Bush said.

And Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters provided firefighters battling the Woolsey Fire with a meal from his Backbeat BBQ brand, reported KABC.

Some looting was reported in the southern fire area over the weekend and police said arrests had been made.

The smoke does not pose a health threat to people in the Great Lakes region, experts said.

"We're finding remains in various states", he told reporters.

President Donald Trump declared a major disaster from the California wildfires on Monday night, making federal emergency funds more readily available in the stricken counties. Investigators are consulting forensic anthropologists for help in identifying the remains.

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