Published: Tue, November 20, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Camp Fire death toll rises to 79, around 700 missing, sheriff says

Camp Fire death toll rises to 79, around 700 missing, sheriff says

"One human remain was located today", raising the toll by one in the so-called Camp Fire which broke out 10 days earlier in northern California, a statement from the Butte County Sheriff said, following US President Donald Trump's visit on Saturday to survey thedevastation.

Niinisto said he advised Trump about fire prevention earlier this month but spoke about Finland's fire-surveillance network, not raking.

Authorities stressed numerous people on the list may be safe and unaware they have been reported missing.

The fire has destroyed more than 10,500 homes while burning 234 square miles (606 sq. kilometers).

"This is very sad", Trump said after surveying the remains of Paradise, where almost the only people out on the road were emergency services workers, surrounded by the twisted remains of a community incinerated by the flames. "They won't confirm it to me the whole time", Ms Taft said.

Experts have have attributed fires mostly to dry conditions from California's record drought, high winds and climate change. It will go down because this is in a state of flux.

Muir Woods, Oakland Zoo and the just-opened holiday ice rink at San Francisco's Embarcadero Center were also closed Monday. While it's down from almost 1,000 the day before, it is inexact, progress has been slow, and the many days of uncertainty are adding to the stress.

The attractions said they hoped to reopen Tuesday but would evaluate air quality levels before deciding.

It's been 12 days since Christina Taft started the frantic search for her mother Victoria, who refused to evacuate their Paradise home as flames neared, and six days since she gave authorities a cheek swab to identify remains that are likely her mother's.

The 25-year-old Paradise resident says she's been frustrated by what she feels is a lack of communication from Butte County officials.

"Right now, for me, no news is good news, because no news means she hasn't been found dead", she said. "There has been confusion going on at the Sheriffs office regarding her whereabouts because she was taken off the list", a man wrote on Facebook on Monday.

The day before, the United States president said: "I was with the president of Finland, and he said we have a much different - we're a forest nation".

VICE News spent time with Tammie Konicki, during her search for her missing 64-year-old mother, who was last seen getting into a auto the morning of the fire. "Thousands and thousands of homes got destroyed with no trees around", she said at a shelter set up by the American Red Cross in a church.

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Such confusion is hampering authorities as they try to keep track of people displaced from their homes by the deadliest US wildfire in a century.

The sheriff's list of those unaccounted for dropped dramatically Sunday from almost 1,300 to 700 as authorities continued to locate people.

Anguished friends and family continue to search online for people they haven't heard from since the blaze began on November 8. With many retirees living in the Paradise area, officials fear the death toll could rise. The rain could wash away the remains and turn dusty debris from the fire into mud.

Four hundred miles (644 km) south of Sacramento near Malibu, at least two inches of rain are expected to fall on a second fire, the Woolsey.

He says weather projections show the area will see moderate, steady rain.

That means the region is now at risk of mudslides, which could be especially unsafe for firefighters battling the inferno.

With over 151,000 acres burned, the search for the unaccounted is unprecedented. "Even the people who are affected by the fire directly, they're helping". "Crews will continue implementing containment lines, patrol for heat in the interior, and mitigate hazards in the fire area".

Rain is in the forecast for Wednesday, and the National Weather Service warns there could be mudslides and rock slides.

Survivors and relatives of those caught in the fire in Northern California are using social media to get the word out: In some cases, to post that their loved ones were safe; in others, to plead for help. That blaze was 94 percent contained by Monday morning.

However, heavy rains could also cause risky mudslides in the burn areas, putting firefighters at risk as they work on rugged, mountainous terrain and displacing evacuees camped out in lowland parking lots or other makeshift shelters at risk of flooding. "The rain will easily disturb the soil where remains might be found", Burke said.

At least three people died and 450 houses were seriously damaged in southern California.

Search teams in white coveralls, hard hats and masks used sticks to move aside debris and focused on vehicles, bathtubs and what was left of mattresses while a cadaver dog sniffed for clues.

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