228 still missing in California wildfire

Updated: Nov 13, 2018, 11:45 IST | Agencies

Large swathe in north of state wiped out, killing six; 1,50,000 people displaced across 400 square miles

Representational picture
Representational picture

As wildfires continued to rage on both ends of California, officials released another grim statistic: six more dead in a swathe of Northern California wiped out by fire, raising the death toll there to 29. It matched California's record for deaths in a single fire.

Another 228 remain unaccounted for as crews stepped up the search for bodies and missing people. Two people were killed in a wildfire in Southern California. Ten search teams were working in Paradise, a town of 27,000 that was largely incinerated last week, and in surrounding communities in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Authorities called in a DNA lab and teams of anthropologists to help identify victims.

Statewide, 1,50,000 remained displaced as more than 8,000 fire crews battled wildfires that have scorched 400 square miles (1,040 sq km), with out-of-state crews continuing to arrive. Whipping winds and tinder-dry conditions threaten more areas through the rest of the week, fire officials warned.

"This is truly a tragedy that all Californians can understand and respond to," Gov Jerry Brown said at a press briefing. "It's a time to pull together and work through these tragedies." Brown, who has declared a state emergency, said California is requesting aid from the Trump administration. President Donald Trump has blamed "poor" forest management for the fires. Brown said federal and state governments must do more forest management but that climate change is the greater source of the problem.

Some Malibu celebrities and mobile-home dwellers in nearby mountains too lost their homes to the fire. Actor Gerard Butler posted a picture on Instagram saying that his Malibu home was "half-gone," and he was "inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters."

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