CALIFORNIA. USA (AP) — The death toll from the wildfire that incineratedParadise and surrounding areas climbed to 29 — matching the mark for thedeadliest single blaze in California history — as crews continued searchingfor bodies in the smouldering ruins, with nearly 230 people unaccounted for.
Statewide the number of dead stood at 31, including two victims in Southern California, from wildfires raging at both ends of the state.
Ten search teams were working in Paradise — a town of 27,000 that was engulfed by flames Thursday — and in surrounding communities in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada foothills. Authorities called in a DNA lab and anthropologists to help identify what in some cases were only bones or bone fragments.
All told, more than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched more than 325 square miles (840 square kilometres) of the state, with the flames feeding on dry brush and driven by winds that had a blowtorch effect.
“This is truly a tragedy that all Californians can understand and respond to,” Governor Jerry Brown said Sunday. “It’s a time to pull together and work through these tragedies.”
California is requesting emergency aid from the Trump Administration, but President Donald Trump has blamed what he called poor forest management for the fires.
The governor said that the federal and state governments must do more forest management but that climate change is the greater source of the problem.