California wildfire is now deadliest, most destructive in history

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While the so-called Camp Fire in the north has exacted a devastating human toll of 42 lives so far and essentially erased the town of Paradise, down south the flames have killed two people whose bodies were found in a auto. More are unaccounted for.

More than 5,000 firefighters are still battling the blaze that charred 195 square miles since it started Thursday.

The statewide death toll from wildfires over the past week in California has reached 50.

Officials said they did not know how many people were missing four days after the fire swept over the town of 27,000 and practically wiped it off the map with flames so fierce that authorities brought in a mobile DNA lab and forensic anthropologists to help identify the dead. By the end of its first day, it had essentially destroyed the town of Paradise, which had a population of over 26,000 people.

The cause of the Camp Fire is also still under investigation but, as in the Woolsey Fire, power equipment in the area is being investigated as a possible source.


"We have teams - you know, coroner teams - that have to go house to house and vehicle to vehicle", Schuster told ABC.

Since igniting Thursday afternoon, the fire has destroyed at least 177 homes and threatened about 57,000.

If there's any good news here, it's that the Peak Fire, which burned 186 acres, has been 100 percent contained according to California Fire officials.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Monday that search teams were using "cadaver dogs" to look for fire victims and two temporary military morgues were being set up.

"A lot of people up and down California have lost everything", he said.


The fire has scorched over 6,400 structures to rubble and burned 110,000 acres of land.

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

President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for California Monday, which will allow access to federal funding and other resources to help those affected by the fires. Jerry Brown said Sunday.

"Unfortunately, the best science is telling us that the dryness, warmth, drought, all those things, they're going to intensify", Brown said.

The release of the names comes as a utility company is sued by victims over claims its power lines caused the fire.


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