California’s deadliest wildfire kills 42

California wildfires continue rage

California wildfires continue rage

Thirteen more bodies have been recovered in California, bringing the death toll in the US state’s deadliest wildfire to 42, officials say.

The remains were found in and around the largely incinerated town of Paradise, in the north of the state.

At least 228 people are missing as the Camp Fire continues to rage. Nearly 7,200 structures have been destroyed, and another 15,500 are at risk.

The fire has now surpassed the 1933 Griffith Park disaster that killed 31.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday evening, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea confirmed the number of dead, and the official number of missing.

Many more people are said to be unaccounted for.

In the south of the state, other wildfires are menacing lives and property. The Woolsey Fire has so far killed two people, damaging beach resorts, including Malibu.

More than 300,000 locals have been forced to flee their homes across California.

President Donald Trump has declared a “major disaster” in the state, making federal aid available to affected residents.

Paradise and its surrounding areas bore the brunt of the Camp Fire – the largest blaze – which started in nearby forest on Thursday.

Some bodies were found in gutted cars that were overrun by the fast-moving fire, as residents scrambled to evacuate.

Sorrell Bobrink, a Paradise resident who managed to drive away with her child, told BBC World Service radio she had first been woken up and alerted by a phone call from a friend.

Describing the scene as “exactly like any apocalyptic movie I have ever seen”, she said she had not known if she was driving towards death or out of harm’s way as the sky blackened.

“I had to drive through the fire – it was awful. It was probably the most awful experience I will have in my life,” she told the Newsday programme.

“It was traumatising, we will be traumatised for a long time. My whole community was traumatised – I can’t watch the videos anymore because I actually went through it.”

Many of the victims are believed to be elderly residents or people with mobility issues who would find evacuating more difficult.

Forensic experts are stepping up their search in the ruins of Paradise but officials warn that finding the bodies could take weeks. -BBC

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