California wildfires: Number of missing people rises to 228

Credit PA
Credit PA

13 November, 2018

The California wildfires continue to rage, claiming the lives of at least 29 people as of Monday, The Associated Press reports.

Officials said the bodies of five people were found in burned-out homes and the sixth was found in a vehicle in northern California's camp fire, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters. That blaze virtually burned the town of Paradise to the ground, destroying thousands of homes and structures.

Many bodies recovered from the Camp Fire were found inside or near homes or in vehicles, officials said.

The devastation was so complete in some neighborhoods that "it's very hard to determine whether or not there may be human remains there", Honea said.

Mr Honea said the number of people listed as missing in the disaster remained officially at 228, but added that his office had received more than 1,500 requests for "welfare checks" from people concerned about the fate of their loved ones.

Authorities called in a mobile DNA lab and anthropologists to help identify victims of the most destructive wildfire in Californian history.

Almost 9,000 firefighters, many from out of state, were battling to suppress the Camp Fire, the Woolsey Fire and a handful of smaller Southern California blazes, backed by squadrons of water-dropping helicopters and airplane tankers.

The largest of the two blazes, the Woolsey Fire, grew to 85,500 acres on Sunday after spreading south from Simi Valley in Ventura County to Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County, where the flames jumped the 101 Freeway and continued burning toward the Malibu area.

Neil Young, Robin Thicke, Gerard Butler and Miley Cyrus are among those who lost their homes along the coastline.

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The deadly wildfires ripping through California have forced hundreds of thousands of residents to evacuate, including some celebrities whose homes have been lost to the blazes.

"I still haven't heard anything", said Laurie Teague, who was looking for her 80-year-old stepfather, Herb Alderman.

On Sunday, officials confirmed that two deaths in Malibu were related to the Woolsey Fire, bringing the statewide death toll to 31.

In southern California, where the Woolsey fire scorched at least 83,275 acres, the blaze was only 10pc contained.

Many celebrities live in the area and USA pop star Miley Cyrus (25) said she had been left "devastated" after her home was burned down. "My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that's all that matters right now".

'My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family & friends stand strong.

"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor", Trump tweeted.

The Washington Post reported that the historic Paramount Ranch production set in Agoura Hills burned on Friday, while wildfire threatened nearby homes of a slew of celebrities, including Orlando Bloom, Cher, Melissa Etheridge, Lady Gaga, Alyssa Milano, Pink, Will Smith, Guillermo del Toro, Rainn Wilson, James Woods, and Kim Kardashian-West and Kanye West.

The governor said that the federal and state governments must do more forest management but that climate change is the greater source of the problem.

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