This Thanksgiving families of victims, firefighters, and volunteers were quite grim as the Camp Fire’s death toll has increased to 88. It was California’s most deadliest and most destructive wildfire in decades and firefighters fought day and night for 17 days to contain the fire. Many volunteers are still on ground assisting firemen by removing debris and helping evacuees.
The fire ravaged around 200,000 acres of land and has left 203 people are still missing, the Butte County Sheriff said during a Monday night news briefing.
Of the 88 dead, 54 have been tentatively identified. Another 16 have been positively identified. Of those 16, 13 were residents of Paradise — the town nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, charred to an eerie wasteland of burnt-out cars and home foundations.
“Unfortunately, many of the remains we’ve located have been nearly completely consumed by the fire,” sheriff Kory Honea said. “What they’re recovering is bones and bone fragments.”
Finding remains has become even more complicated as rains hit the site and washed off a lot of debris. Search and rescue crews, coroners and forensic anthropologists are continuing with recovery and search efforts. So far though no additional remains were located on Sunday. Honea identified a “trend” of fewer and fewer remains being recovered each day.
“That’s positive, because we’ve made good progress in covering the vast majority of the area that we need to cover,” Honea said.
Most of the missing people are reportedly from Paradise, many from Magalia and some from Chico, Concow, Berry Creek, Stirling City, Big Bend and Oroville.
Authorities declared that though 2,689 people were marked as missing, all those people have been found.
The fire destroyed 13,972 homes, 528 commercial structures and 4,293 other buildings. Repair personnel are continuing to conduct rehabilitation where possible, according to the latest incident update.
“A lot of people are anxious to get back into their properties and communities,” Honea said. “We are very anxious to get people back into their properties. But the thing that we have to do before we can allow that is ensure that the area is safe for the public to return.”
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