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Death toll from catastrophic wildfire in California kills 42

By Sheetal Sukhija, Connecticut State News
14 Nov 2018, 03:53 GMT+10

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - The Camp Fire raging in northern California has now become the deadliest blaze in the history of the state.

For a fifth day in a row, the Camp Firein the foothills of Butte Countys Sierra Nevada mountains, continued to burn as scores of firefighters remained engaged in trying to douse the deadly blaze.

The origin point of the wildfire - at the Sierra foothills is about 175 miles (280 km) north of San Francisco.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea announced at a news conference on Tuesday that the deadliest blaze in state history had now left at least 42 people dead.

Sheriff Honea added 13 more fatalities to the death toll and added that about 228 people still remain missing as the deadly wildfire continues to destroy everything in its path.

He told reporters, "As of today, an additional 13 human remains have been recovered, which brings the total number to 42."

Sheriff Honea announced that search operations for victims and those reportedly missing in the blaze had begun, revealing fears that the toll could rise.

He added that there are currently 13 coroner-led recovery teams in the fire zone and a total of 150 search-and-recovery personnel were set to arrive on Tuesday to join in the efforts.

The search teams were focussed on recovering the dead and the sheriff added that he has requested three portable morgue teams from the U.S. military.

Sheriff Honea told reporters that he has also requested a disaster mortuary crew and an unspecified number of cadaver dog units to assist in the search for human remains.

Further, Tuesday's elaborate search operation will include three groups of forensic anthropologists, who will assist the team with their expertise.

Earlier this week, several celebrities said that their homes had been wrecked by the blaze, with many of them posting photos of the rubble left behind where their houses stood once.

In terms of property losses, Camp Fire has been ranked as the most destructive on record in California.

So far, the wildfire has consumed over 7,100 homes and other structures since igniting on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Honea has pointed out that over 52,000 people continue to remain under evacuation orders and said that his office had received requests from loved ones of more than 1,500 people - to check on their wellbeing since they haven't been heard from since the blazes began.

He added that the number of confirmed fatalities - 42, marked the highest death toll in history from a single California wildfire.

The Sheriff noted that the previous record was set was in 1933, when 29 people died from the Griffith Park blaze in Los Angeles.

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