The most deadly and destructive wildfire in California history raged on Tuesday morning as weary firefighters tried to gain control of the inferno, while mobile coroner’s teams searched through the incinerated remains of Paradise and its environs looking for more victims, reported USA TODAY.
The historic blaze raging 90 miles north of Sacramento has claimed at least 42 lives, and dozens of people remain unaccounted for. More than 6,400 homes were destroyed by the fast-moving Camp Fire blaze, many in Paradise, a community of 27,000 people.
“This is an unprecedented event,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. “If you’ve been up there, you also know the magnitude of the scene we’re dealing with. I want to recover as many remains as we possibly can, as soon as we can, because I know the toll it takes on loved ones.
More search teams, two portable morgue units from the military and cadaver dogs were being brought in Tuesday. The fire had grown to almost 200 square miles and was 30 percent contained, Cal Fire said.
“Forecasted low relative humidity and dry fuel moistures combined with steep rugged terrain will continue to impede control operations,” Cal Fire warned.
While the cause of the fire was being investigated, Pacific Gas & Electric drew scrutiny after telling state regulators that it had been having a problem with an electrical transmission line in the area before the fire broke out. Cal Fire investigators were at the scene of the transmission line Monday. PG&E had no comment.
Cal Fire Chief Scott Jalbert, on the scene at the Woolsey Fire west of Los Angeles, said drought conditions statewide have made the battles precarious for 8,000 firefighters engaging two fires.
“We are dealing with 30-foot brush and grass,” he said. “Up in Northern California, they are dealing with 150-foot trees in addition to 30-foot brush. The fuel loading is just tremendous.”