Home News Teams Search For Bodies In California After Wildfire Claims 42 Lives (Video)

Teams Search For Bodies In California After Wildfire Claims 42 Lives (Video)

A home destroyed by the Woolsey Fire is seen in Thousand Oaks, California, U.S. November 12, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

PARADISE, Calif. (Reuters) – Search teams will fan out across the charred landscape of Paradise, California looking for human remains on Tuesday as authorities prepare for a rise in the deathcount from the state’s deadliest wildfire.

The “Camp Fire” blaze still raging in northern California has killed at least 42 people. Another 228 have been listed as missing, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said.

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.

“Camp Fire” – already ranked as the most destructive on record in California in terms of property losses – has consumed more than 7,100 homes and other structures since igniting on Thursday in Butte County’s Sierra foothills, about 175 miles (280 km) north of San Francisco.

A total of 150 search-and-recovery personnel were due to arrive on Tuesday, bolstering 13 coroner-led recovery teams in the fire zone, Honea said.

The sheriff said he also has requested three portable morgue teams from the U.S. military, a “disaster mortuary” crew and an unspecified number of cadaver dog units to assist in the search for human remains. Three groups of forensic anthropologists were also called in to help, he said.

The bulk of the destruction and loss of life occurred in and around the town of Paradise, where flames reduced most of the buildings to ash and rubble on Thursday night, just hours after the blaze erupted. Some 52,000 people remained under evacuation orders, the sheriff said.

Honea added that his office had received requests to check on the wellbeing of more than 1,500 people who had not been heard from by loved ones. Of those cases, 231 individuals had turned up safe, he said.

Authorities said on Monday evening that they found the bodies of 13 more victims, increasing the death toll from 29 tallied over the weekend.

The 42 confirmed fatalities marked the highest death toll in history from a single California wildfire, Honea said, far surpassing the previous record of 29 lives lost in 1933 from the Griffith Park blaze in Los Angeles.

Reuters, excerpt posted on  SouthFloridaReporter.com, Nov. 13, 2018

Video by Reuters TV