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

Toll rises to 42 in California’s ‘deadliest wildfire’, 228 people still missing

Toll rises to 42 in California’s ‘deadliest wildfire’, 228 people still missing

California police and firefighters on Monday were sifting through the charred debris of homes destroyed in the most devastating wildfire in the state's history, searching for the remains of 228 missing people.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the county consulted teams of anthropologists because, in some cases, investigators have been able to recover only bones and bone fragments.

The statewide death toll from wildfires over the past week has reached 44.

Fire crews also had to stamp out two new smaller fires.

With strengthening winds threatening to spread the flames, state Governor Jerry Brown has urged President Donald Trump to declare a major disaster, a move that would harness more federal emergency funds.

"I am with you all the way", the president tweeted. "God Bless all of the victims and families affected", Trump wrote on Twitter.

His body was found outside his home in Paradise, according to reports.

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Crews have managed to carve containment lines around 30 percent of the Camp Fire perimeter, an area encompassing 117,000 acres of scorched, smoldering terrain. Along with a loss of life, an estimated 435 structures were destroyed and another 24 were damaged. More than 200 people are missing and at least five firefighters have been injured. The blaze was 30 percent contained Monday evening. Two people were killed and the fire had destroyed almost 180 structures. Almost 7,200 structures have been destroyed, and another 15,500 are at risk. As a former firefighter himself, he said he understands the chaos wildfires cause. Some 52,000 people remained under evacuation orders, the sheriff said.

As of late Monday morning, a total of 210,603 acres had burned as a result of four big fires burning in California - the Camp Fire in Paradise, the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the Hill Fire in Ventura County and the Nurse Fire in Solano County. Two structures have been destroyed. More than 300,000 California residents have had to flee their homes.

Bell Canyon resident Randy Piotroski evacuated Thursday night when the fire was a quarter-mile from his house. "Helicopters flying every which way, cars, people trying to get out all at once".

"With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart", Trump tweeted Sunday. Thank you to all the hero firefighters around California.

The mayor of Paradise, Jody Jones, gave the BBC an update on the situation in the town. A northeastern jet stream is helping carry the smoke, which appears as thick clouds or haze in the MI city.

"It's always going to be hard to see Paradise burn like that, but I am glad that I have the video", Chatfield said.

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

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