Raging California fire death toll reaches 23

Updated: 12 November, 2018 17:56 IST | Agencies | Paradise

Firefighters battle the inferno at both ends of the state but there is little hope of containing the flames soon

The fire has already consumed over 6,700 buildings. Pic/AFP
The fire has already consumed over 6,700 buildings. Pic/AFP

The death toll from the most destructive fire to hit California rose to 23 on Saturday as rescue workers recovered more bodies of people killed by the devastating blaze.

Firefighters are battling raging fires at both ends of the state, but there is little hope of containing the flames anytime soon. "Today, 14 additional bodies were located, which brings our total number to 23," Sheriff Kory Honea told a news conference.

Ten of the bodies were found in the town of Paradise while four were discovered in the Concow area, both in Butte County, Honea said. Rescuers could be seen removing remains over a period of several hours in Paradise and placing them in a black hearse. Pieces of bodies were transported by bucket, while intact remains were carried in body bags.

On Saturday, a total of 19 of the people killed in what authorities have dubbed the "Camp Fire" have been reported in Paradise, where more than 6,700 buildings — most of them residences — have been consumed by the late-season inferno.

For miles around, acrid smoke could be seen in the sky around Paradise, the sun barely visible. On the ground, cars were reduced to metal carcasses, while power lines were also gnawed by the flames.

"The magnitude of destruction we have seen is really unbelievable and heartbreaking, and our hearts go out to everybody who has been affected by this," said Mark Ghilarducci, the director of the California Office of Emergency Services.

No. of firefighters deployed to contain the fire

Area in acres scorched by the flames

Trump calls for proper forest management to combat wildfires
US President Donald Trump called for proper forest management to combat California's wildfires, days after threatening to cut off federal payments due to mismanagement. "With proper forest management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!" he tweeted. He previously slammed the management and had tweeted, "There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!"

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First Published: 12 November, 2018 17:39 IST

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