Northern California fire death toll rises to 29, equalling deadliest blaze
San Francisco - Authorities late Sunday confirmed that six more bodies were recovered in Butte County, bringing the death toll in a fatal wildfire in northern California to 29, matching the deadliest blaze on record in the state.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Hones told a press conference that six sets of human remains were found on Sunday in the town of Paradise, 137 kilometres north of Sacramento, adding that 10 coroner search and recovery teams from across the state were assisting in the search for more victims.
The 29 killed were said to be civilians, while three firefighters were injured in the blaze.
The death toll matches that of the deadliest California wildfire on record, the 1933 Griffith Park blaze in Los Angeles County.
Hones said that 228 people remained unaccounted for while officials located 107 individuals and were working with shelters to establish if people reported missing are there.
The so-called Camp Fire, which has grown to 111,000 acres and was only 25% contained as of Sunday evening caused the evacuation of 52,000 people, authorities said.
According to official estimates the blaze, which is being fought by 4,555 emergency personnel, will not be contained before the end of the month.
Hardest hit was the town of Paradise, population 27,000, where 668 structures were found destroyed by a preliminary inspection out of a total of 6,713 across the area.
Incident meteorologist Alex Hoon said that gusty winds of up to 64 kilometres per hour were expected to continue into the night and red flag warnings, the highest alert, would remain in place overnight.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands evacuated from two separate wildfires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties in southern California.
Los Angeles County sheriff's chief John Benedict said two people had died in one of the fires but that the deaths were under investigation.
Officials also said Saturday that more than 250,000 people had been evacuated from the area, including Malibu, known for its celebrity residents.
"Our firefighters have been facing some extreme, tough fire conditions that they said that they've never seen in their lives," said LA county fire chief Daryl Osby.
Among the celebrities whose homes were evacuated are Orlando Bloom, Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian.dpa