The deadly wildfires in California have resulted in the deaths of at least 58 people as more than 300 remain missing on Thursday.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea invited relatives of the missing to bring DNA samples to the sheriff’s office in Oroville on Thursday to help find the lost fire victims, according to CNN.
“This is a daunting task,” Butte County Sheriff’s Investigations Sgt. Steve Collins said, according to CNN. “We feel really bad for the people who don’t know what happened to their loved ones and our hearts go out to them. We want to give them some answers.”
Of the 58 deaths, 56 have occurred in Northern California as a result of the massive Camp Fire — the deadliest fire in the state’s history. The Camp Fire broke out in Butte County last Thursday and has since burned through 140,000 acres. On Thursday, nearly a week after it first sparked, the Camp Fire was only 40 percent contained.
Officials announced the latest fatalities in a statement on Wednesday, revealing that authorities found six people dead indoors in the city of Paradise and two more outdoors.
RELATED STORY: Drone Footage Shows Devastation of California City Where Wildfire Killed Residents, Destroyed Homes
The Camp Fire left the town of Paradise in ruins, and many survivors of the blaze don’t know what their future holds.
“There’s more evacuees, more people running out of money for hotels,” Matthew Flanagan, of Paradise, told CBS News. “Families, you know, they’re staying with people but, you know, they can’t stay there forever.”
More than 450 people and 22 cadaver dogs are involved in searches for the missing in Paradise, Magalia and Concow, authorities said, according to CNN. After remains are found, coroners are sent to the area to recover the bodies.
“They are going to be searching vehicles that have been burned. They’ll be searching residences that have been burned,” Collins said, according to CNN. “Checking around the residences … our mission is to find the victims from this fire, recover them and get them identified and notify the families to give them some answers.”
RELATED: Death Toll Rises to 50 in California Wildfires as New Blaze Breaks Out: It’s ‘Absolutely Chaotic’
FEMA administrator Brock Long toured fire-ravaged Paradise this week, assessing the damages, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“We’ll be here for several years working this disaster,” Long said. “It’s not that it’s going to take five years to put people back in their homes …You’re not going to be able to rebuild Paradise the way it was.”
Two people died in the Woolsey Fire, burning just outside Los Angeles. By Thursday, the blaze had spread across more than 98,000 acres but was 57 percent contained. The Hill Fire — burning in Ventura County — also broke out last Thursday spread across more than 4,500 acres but was 97 percent less than a week later, according to CalFire.
As the state struggles to come to terms with the devastation — while continuing efforts to put out the fires — investigators are working to determine the cause of the blazes. Experts have said climate change played a big part in the size of the fires, according to CBS.
One woman who lost her Paradise home, Doreen Zimmerman, told the Bee that she plans to sue a string of utility companies, alleging that their equipment failures were to blame for the fires. However,U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has said that now is not the time to place blame, according to CBS.
“There’s a lot of reasons for a fire,” he said. “Now is really not the time to point fingers.”
Source: Read Full Article