With Death Toll at 29, California’s Camp Fire Becomes State’s Deadliest in 85 Years

The remains of six more people were found in the Northern California town of Paradise after the Camp Fire swept through the area, bringing the total number of deaths related to the blaze to 29 and matching the deadliest fire in state history, authorities said Sunday.

The latest fatalities brought the statewide death toll to 31, after the Woolsey Fire in Southern California killed two people.

Butte County Sheriff Kory L. Honea told reporters that five bodies in Paradise were found in homes and one was found in a vehicle.

The Camp Fire, believed to be the most destructive in state history, has burned more than 6,000 homes and scorched 111,000 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

More than 200 people were still unaccounted for after the fire, Honea said, though many of the missing may be in shelters and unable to contact loved ones who reported them to authorities.

Twenty-nine people also died in the Griffith Park Fire of 1933, according to Cal Fire.

The Woolsey Fire also was burning Sunday — from Thousand Oaks, a city still reeling from a mass shooting that left 12 people dead last week, to the wealthy coastal enclave of Malibu. In addition to killing two people, the fire threatened nearly 60,000 structures and forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents, officials said.

But there was a sliver of good news: after the return on Sunday of hot, dry Santa Ana winds — which blow toward the Southern California coast from the desert, fanning wildfires — fire officials said there were no new reports of burned buildings. And firefighters were able to contain flare-ups in blustery canyons.

“Today was very challenging, but we’ve had huge successes,” Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby told reporters on Sunday afternoon.

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SOURCE: Tim Stelloh
NBC News