Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

California wildfire toll matches deadliest ever with 29 victims

California wildfire toll matches deadliest ever with 29 victims

Authorities called in a mobile DNA lab and anthropologists to help identify the dead as the search went on for victims of the most destructive wildfire in California history.

The weather is not working in fire crews favour, as Scott Jalbert, chief of Cal Fire's San Luis Obispo Unit, said on Sunday morning: "Sadly, with these winds, it's not over yet".

Several of the bodies discovered earlier this week were found in or near burned out cars, police have said. What Trump failed to point out, however, is that over 90% of the land burned thus far is federally owned and his administration cut fire service programs in its federal budget. In Southern California, where the Woolsey Fire scorched 83,275 acres, the blaze was only 10 percent contained.

Around 228 people are still unaccounted for, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters on Sunday evening. She's in Paradise, a town of 2,7000 people that's been decimated by the so-called Camp Fire.

Malibu and nearby Calabasas are home to many celebrities and some have been forced to flee, including Kim Kardashian West, Caitlyn Jenner, Lady Gaga and Guillermo Del Toro.

"Welcome to my home in Malibu", the star said in the footage, in which he surveys the charred remains of his property.

With 40 miles per hour winds forecast in Southern California through Tuesday, more evacuations were possible, Ventura County Sheriff's Sergeant Eric Bouche said.

A lull on Saturday allowed some containment of the blazes, in the north and south of the state, but officials warned residents to stay away as they could again spread very rapidly.

Toll rises to 42 in California’s ‘deadliest wildfire’, 228 people still missing
Along with a loss of life, an estimated 435 structures were destroyed and another 24 were damaged. The smoke does not pose a health threat to people in the Great Lakes region, experts said.

Authorities said that numerous bodies were recovered inside homes or found in cars overcome by flames. All told, these climate change-fueled disasters have killed at least 23 people, destroyed thousands of homes, displaced hundreds of thousands of residents across the state, and decimated the entire town of Paradise.

The southern part of the state used to be able to rely on help from their counterparts up north around this time of the year, Osby said, when the threat of fire was much less prevalent in those communities.

Airplanes and helicopters swooped low over hills and canyons to drop loads of fire retardant and water.

Brown said that the fires were "truly a tragedy" and hopes everyone pulls together. Streisand wrote: "In a awful urban fire in Los Angeles, Trump shows his ignorance and lack of empathy by blaming forest management".

He has previously blamed Californian officials for wildfires and threatened to withhold federal funding.

That change has impacted the ability to move firefighting resources around the state, officials said.

On Sunday, during a trip to France, he tweeted: "With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California".

Nearly 6,000 miles away, President Donald Trump, in France for World War I commemorations, drew fierce criticism for an unsympathetic reaction to the devastation.

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