The toll of devastation continues in California as the state combusts in out-of-control wildfires consuming everything in their paths. Powerful winds are expected to again sweep through California on Sunday, exacerbating three major fires that have killed at least 23 people, destroyed thousands of homes, and displaced hundreds of thousands of residents, reports CNN Sunday morning.
The Camp Fire in Northern California quickly became the third-deadliest and the most destructive fire in state history, while the Woolsey and Hill fires in the southern part of the state forced thousands of residents into shelters.
Meanwhile, crews have begun combing through blackened ruins to assess the damage and search for human remains.
Most of the bodies were recovered in or near the fire-ravaged town of Paradise, and the painstaking process of finding the missing and identifying the dead is challenging, with some of the bodies recovered burned beyond recognition.
“In some cases, the only remains we are able to recover are bones or bone fragments,” Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea told reporters. “I know that members of the community who are missing loved ones are anxious, and I know that the news of us recovering bodies has to be disconcerting.”
Here’s the latest on the fires:
• Camp Fire: The largest of the trio, the Camp Fire has burned 109,000 acres and is 25% contained as of Sunday morning, according to Cal Fire. It has destroyed an estimated 6,700 buildings, most of which were homes.
• Woolsey and Hill fires: Fire officials said Saturday the Woolsey Fire had spread to 83,275 acres and was 5% contained. The smaller Hill Fire covered 4,531 acres and was 65% contained. Together, they’re responsible for the destruction of 177 structures, but another 57,000 are threatened, according to fire officials.
• Massive evacuations: More than 300,000 people have been forced from their homes statewide. The majority of those residents are in Los Angeles County, where 170,000 were evacuated.