Thursday, 13 December, 2018

California wildfires: Death toll rises, hundreds missing

READ MOREFire tornado breaks out in the middle of California wildfires READ MOREFire tornado breaks out in the middle of California wildfires
Ellis Copeland | 13 November, 2018, 04:59

The fire had forced authorities to issue evacuation orders for a quarter million people in Ventura and Los Angeles counties and beachside communities including the Malibu beach colony.

The president of the California Professional Firefighters said the message is an attack on some of the people fighting the devastating fires. Butler posted a photo on Twitter of the charred remains of a Malibu home and thanked firefighters for their courage.

Two people have also been reported dead from the Woolsey Fire in Southern California.

Authorities in the southern part of the state used to be able to rely on help from their counterparts up north around this time of the year, Osby said, when the threat of fire was much less prevalent in those communities.

In Northern California, where more than 6,700 buildings have been destroyed in the blaze that obliterated Paradise, firefighters contended with wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour (64 kph) overnight, the fire jumping 300 feet across Lake Oroville. With records less sophisticated in the 1930s, it's unknown if some of those workers initially presumed dead had actually perished, or if they just went home. "Many more people were threatened and had to evacuated", Dennison said. The classic offshore flow was similar to the Santa Ana winds.

Speaking on CNN, Honea said while he holds out hope that many people listed as missing will turn up safe, "given what we've dealt with so far with casualties as a result of this fire, I have concerns that it (the death toll) will rise".

"Natural factors and human-caused global warming effects fatally collude" in these fires, said wildfire expert Kristen Thornicke of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

Ten victims were found in or near Paradise, California, a town of about 26,000 that's been all but leveled by the Camp Fire.

But officials warned against complacency, with winds of up to 70mph (112km/h) expected over the coming days.

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Officials also said Saturday that more than 250,000 people had been evacuated from the area, including Malibu, known for its celebrity residents. Almost two-thirds of the state is abnormally dry. That makes a lot of dry vegetation for the fires to burn.

The federal agency said they are a "hazard".

The blaze is being bombarded with water drops and ground crews are on the scene.

PG&E equipment has been involved with several deadly wildfires this year in California, racking up costs of more than $2 billion, net of insurance payments tied to those fires, according to industry publication Utility Dive.

Fire officials said the larger of the region's two fires, the one that hit Malibu, grew to 337 square kilometres and was 10 per cent contained.

The two dead were severely burned, their bodies discovered in a auto on a long residential driveway on a stretch of Mulholland Highway in Malibu, where most of the surrounding structures had burned.

Santos Alvarado, right, and his son Ricky recover a safe deposit box from their destroyed home at Seminole Springs Mobile Home Park, Sunday.
.

"LA is a pretty great place but if fires are all we have to deal with, you know, we're lucky", "Rules of Engagement" actor Oliver Hudson told the AP at a charity event in Culver City.

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