California's deadliest wildfire 100% contained

27 November, 2018, 09:57 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Rain helps mostly douse California fire but slows searchers

After a brief delay to let a downpour pass, volunteers resume their search for human remains at a mobile home park in Paradise, Calif., Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.

The Camp Fire is 100 percent contained 2 1/2 weeks after it struck Northern California and became the most deadly and destructive in the state's history.

But in a statement on Twitter on Sunday, California's fire department said they were now "100% contained".

The fire burned down almost 19,000 buildings, a lot of them homes, and displaced thousands of people, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The fire erupted amid strong winds November 8 just west of Los Angeles and burned through suburban communities and wilderness parklands to the ocean, leaving vast areas of blackened earth and many homes in ashes.

Only 54 of the fatalities have been identified, according to the local sheriff's office in Butte County, a rural area north of the state capital Sacramento.

A downpour has turned the ash from a devastating California wildfire into paste, making it hard for volunteers to find fragments of bone and forcing them to stop their search for human remains.

Officials say three people were found dead and 1,643 structures, majority homes, were destroyed.

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"The fear is that the rain will drop in intense bursts", meteorologist Brian Hurley said.

The 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) of rain that fell there during the last few days turned ash from the thousands of destroyed homes into slurry, complicating the work of finding bodies reduced to bone fragments.

"With the rain we have been experiencing, residents should be aware of potential risks associated to the weather", the Butte County Sheriff's Office warned.

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the fire.

However, the rain also raises concerns that mudslides and debris flows could be caused in the burn scar areas of Paradise.

The fire killed at least 85 people, and 249 are on a list of those unaccounted for after burning for more than two weeks. Fieri, who lives in Santa Rosa in the Bay Area, cooked for first responders on November 11, and has helped feed victims of past fires.

In Southern California, more residents returned to areas evacuated because of another wildfire as crews repaired power, telephone and gas utilities.

More than 50,000 were forced to flee the flames, many who have lost their homes and were now living in evacuation shelters and makeshift camps.

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