When I wrote about the California wildfires Saturday the official death toll from the devastating Camp Fire in the northern part of the state was nine. Today the San Francisco Chronicle reports the death toll is at least 29 from the northern fire alone but hundreds of people are still missing.
The death toll in the Camp Fire raging in Butte County rose to 29 on Sunday, tying the inferno with the deadliest in California’s recorded history.
Officials said 228 people remain unaccounted for, even as many others who were reported missing turned up in area shelters.
The fire that began Thursday morning and devastated the town of Paradise now matches the 1933 Griffith Park Fire in Los Angeles as the state’s cruelest in human cost.
Earlier today the Mercury News published this report explaining how human remains are located and identified by a group of people who specialize in this sort of work.
Meanwhile, in southern California, two deaths have been connected to the Woolsey fire near Malibu. From ABC News:
The largest of the two blazes, the Woolsey Fire, grew to 85,500 acres on Sunday after spreading south from Simi Valley in Ventura County to Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County, where the flames jumped the 101 Freeway and continued burning toward the Malibu area. That stretch of the freeway was shut down in both directions on Friday and remained so through the weekend…
Two deaths at a residence in Los Angeles County were blamed on the Woolsey Fire, according to Cal Fire.
It is still unknown what caused the two fires, but CNN reports investigators in both locations are looking into the possibility that both were caused by electrical power lines.
Northern California’s Camp Fire has torched more than 6,400 homes and killed 29 people since it began Thursday morning near the town of Pulga. PG&E’s report says it experienced a transmission line outage about 1 mile northeast of Pulga nearly 15 minutes before the Camp Fire began.
In Southern California, where the Woolsey Fire began Thursday afternoon in unincorporated Ventura County, SoCal Edison reported that a circuit relayed out of the Chatsworth Substation about two minutes before the blaze broke out. The incident location in the report is practically the same as the location CalFire provided for the fire’s origin, but it’s not clear how close they are to each other.
SoCal Edison’s report says, “at this point we have no indication from fire agency personnel that SCE utility facilities may have been involved in the start of the fire.”
Finally, here’s a CNN interview with a woman who escaped with her daughter through her burning neighborhood. She says she’ll have nightmares about it for the rest of her life. But stay tuned for the interview that follows with a woman who told her husband she was going to die and then ran through the flames from one vehicle to the next as the cars around her were melting: