California wildfire is now deadliest, most destructive in history

15 November, 2018, 07:27 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Paradise California has practically been wiped from the map after being overcome by flames

The "Camp Fire," which erupted on Thursday, has ravaged 125,000 acres (50,585 hectares) of land and is 30 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.

Another two people died in the separate Woolsey Fire that has destroyed 435 structures and displaced about 200,000 people in the mountains and foothills near Southern California's Malibu coast, west of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department shared the "graphic video" of the woman driving through the wildfire on Twitter to show the perils of fast-moving fire and "how important" it is to evacuate affected areas after order from fire officials.

There had been 208 suspicious incidents reported in Camp Fire's evacuation zone, with 18 of them linked to looting, according to an announcement by the Butte County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday.

The battle against the Camp Fire on Tuesday was waged most intensely in steep, thickly wooded canyons filled with desiccated brush along the southern flank of the blaze.

"We didn't have 10 minutes to get out of there", he said. More than 130,000 acres have been burned in the blaze, which was only 35 percent contained at the time of the news conference.

The dead have been found in burned-out cars, in the smouldering ruins of their homes, or next to their vehicles, apparently overcome by smoke and flames before they could jump in behind the wheel and escape.

"This is a handsome community", Weldon said. Because of the winds in the canyon, the fire flared up and trapped the firefighters.

Before the Paradise tragedy, the deadliest single fire on record in California was a 1933 blaze in Griffith Park in Los Angeles that killed 29.

Honea said, in some cases, victims were burned beyond recognition, or even beyond the use of fingerprint identification. Another Paradise, CA resident who was not part of the first group to sue the utility company said she plans to do so. "People have been badly burned".

Almost 230 people have been listed as missing, but on Tuesday night Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said those numbers were highly fluid as some individuals may simply have fallen out of touch during chaotic evacuations.

"In an effort to better inform the public, this list of reported missing persons is being provided", a message on the sheriff's website says.

The cause of the Woolsey Fire remained under investigation.

Teams of workers wielding chainsaws cleared downed power lines and other obstacles from Paradise streets while forensics investigators picked through barren, fire-scorched lots. The agency said firefighters had "worked aggressively" to protect structures in the fire's path, and that they've been working to build fire lines to establish control.

More than a dozen coroner search-and-recovery teams looked for bodies across the apocalyptic landscape that was once Paradise, while anxious relatives visited shelters and called police and hospitals in hopes of finding loved ones.

Three portable morgue teams have been requested from the United States military along with a "disaster mortuary" crew and three groups of forensic anthropologists.

President Donald Trump has requested a major disaster declaration for California, after taking flack for blaming the devastation on poor forestry management over the weekend.


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