California wildfires - Death toll reached 42 - Renewed - VIDEO | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

14 December, Friday


California wildfires - Death toll reached 42 - Renewed - VIDEO

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An additional 13 sets of human remains were discovered Monday in Northern California, bringing the death toll from the Camp Fire to 42, making it the deadliest wildfire in the state's history, the sheriff of Butte County said.

The increased death toll comes as first responders battle blazes on both ends of the state and brings the statewide death toll to 44.

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The death toll in wildfires sweeping California has risen to 31, with more than 200 people still unaccounted, officials have said.

Six more people were confirmed killed in the Camp Fire in the north of the state, taking the toll there to 29.

It now equals the deadliest wildfire on record in California - the 1933 Griffith Park disaster in Los Angeles.

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The death toll in the wildfires raging through California has risen to 25, according to officials.

This comes after 14 more bodies were discovered in or near the decimated town of Paradise in the state's north, bringing the number of confirmed dead there to 23.

Two more people were killed in the south, near Malibu.

An estimated 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to avoid three major blazes in the state.

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According to CNN, death toll increased to 9 people in California wildfires.

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At least five people died when an explosive wildfire swept through the Northern California town of Paradise, sheriff's officials said Friday.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office said officials located five bodies inside a vehicle overcome by the Camp Fire. The blaze, which sparked Thursday, burnt 70,000 acres with 5 percent containment as of 10:30 a.m. Friday.

"Due to the burn injuries, identification could not be immediately made" on the bodies, the sheriff's office said. "Autopsies will be conducted to determine the circumstances of the deaths and to begin the identification process."

The fire also injured three firefighters but the total casualty picture was not yet clear. Nervous relatives posted on Twitter or called 911 dispatchers hoping to find loved ones behind the fire line.

Cal Fire said the fire destroyed an estimated 2,000 structures, including a large swath of the town of Paradise. Another 15,000 are threatened.

Officials evacuated some 30,000 people in the region, including in Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley. Three shelters have been set up, but officials said at least one is already full.

"The town is devastated, everything is destroyed," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt. Scott McLean told NBC News. "There's nothing much left standing."

"We were engulfed in flames," Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter said. "I don't know what we are coming back to after this. Probably a moonscape. As we drove out, homes were burnt to the ground."

Cal Fire said nearly 2,300 firefighters, 300 fire trucks and 11 helicopters were fighting the flames. Several Paradise businesses have been destroyed, including a fast food restaurant, a diner and a church.

Officials said strong winds are making it difficult for air tankers to extinguish the flames.

"In the past few years, just the way fires have moved, firefighters have had to help with evacuations before they can go back in to put out the fire," Cal Fire spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "There's pretty much complete devastation in that community--entire streets where houses are wiped out."

The cause of the fire is unknown.

In Southern California, officials said the Woolsey Fire forced the entire city of Malibu to evacuate Friday. The flames threatened affluent neighborhoods in Malibu Canyon and Agoura Hills.

"The wind-whipped conditions ... this is ripe conditions for explosive fire behavior," Los Angeles Fire Capt. Erik Scott told NBC News. "This is the new normal. When we have conditions like this, when it's such incredible wind, that brings us into a different caliber, so it's become a more challenging condition."

The Woolsey Fire started in Simi Valley Thursday, where it destroyed about 30 homes and burned 8,000 acres by early Friday.

Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Trey Epsy said crews created "water curtains" between homes to salvage the ones they could.

"They will continue to save homes and do whatever they can until the work is done," Epsy told KCBS-TV.

Officials said the mandatory evacuations clogged the roads in Oak Park, making it difficult to escape.

"It's been a roller coaster," one resident who stayed with his house told KCBS. "Hopefully they're able to get it under control and save this neighborhood."

Another neighbor said the fire was "like a freight train" and praised firefighters for saving so many homes.

Pepperdine University in Malibu, which had several students at the deadly Thousand Oaks shooting Wednesday night, canceled classes Friday because of the approaching fire.

A third blaze called the Hill Fire was threatening Thousand Oaks, where a mandatory evacuation has been ordered for part of the city. The Hill Fire has gone over many of the same areas that burned in 2013. The Point Nagu Naval Base, Camarillo Springs and California State University Channel Islands all have mandatory evacuations.

CNN

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