More bodies found as California wildfire death toll exceeds 50

Cristina Cross
November 15, 2018

That fire is already the most destructive on record in the state, leaving the small town of Paradise in ashes.

The fire, which has charred 195 square miles (505 square kilometres) and destroyed more than 6,400 homes since it started Thursday, was reported 30 percent contained.

A helicopter makes a water drop on the Woolsey Fire near Malibu, California.

He has requested portable morgue teams from the U.S. military, as well as a disaster mortuary crew, additional cadaver dogs and forensic anthropology units.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke joined Governor Jerry Brown on a visit to the leveled town of Paradise, telling reporters it was the worst fire devastation he had ever seen.

The footprint of fire grew to 135,000 acres (55,000 hectares) as of Wednesday, even as diminished winds and rising humidity allowed firefighters to carve containment lines around more than a third of the perimeter.

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Meanwhile, a landowner near where the blaze began, Betsy Ann Cowley, said she got an email from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. the day before the fire last week telling her that crews needed to come onto her property because the utility's power lines were causing sparks.

The Woolsey Fire in Southern California has scorched 97,620 acres and destroyed at least 483 structures.

Before the Camp fire struck, the most deadly wildfire in California's history was the Griffith Park blaze, which killed 29 people in Los Angeles in 1933.

But state fire investigators have not yet determined the utility's culpability in the Tubbs Fire, which killed 23 people and destroyed almost 5,600 structures in California wine country, where losses could top $10 billion.

Many victims in Paradise are believed to have been elderly residents or people with mobility issues who would have found evacuating more hard. As many as 250,000 people were ordered out at the height of the fire. As a former firefighter himself, he said he understands the chaos wildfires cause.

Virtually every home in Paradise, located 130km north of the state capital Sacramento, was destroyed by the fast-moving fire fueled by high winds.

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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.

"We want to be able to cover as much ground as quickly as we possibly can", he said.

To follow ongoing updates from fire and safety officials about the damage to specific areas in the Camp fire, Cal Fire has published a searchable map that includes photos of affected areas, as work crews inspect neighborhoods.

"I'd say that you'll see the first repopulation in days", said Broshears.

Gibson said, "It happened so fast". "They save thousands and thousands of people", DeGeneres said Tuesday on her show, reported the site. She says the company sent a report to state agencies.

More than 8,000 firefighters are battling wildfires across California, including many from out of state.

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President Donald Trump declared a major disaster from the California wildfires on Monday night, making federal emergency funds more readily available in the stricken counties.

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