Sunday, October 15, 2017

California death toll rises to 40, 235 people still missing

The fires have damaged or destroyed about 5,700 structures
Authorities in the US are hoping weaker winds will help the more than 10,000 firefighters battling the deadliest fires in Californian history, which have killed at least 40 people and have forced thousands more to evacuate.

Fast-moving fires spread by shifting winds forced thousands more to evacuate their homes yesterday as the death toll over the week rose to 40, with hundreds missing.

More than 10,000 firefighters supported by air tankers and helicopters battled 16 major wildfires in areas north of San Francisco that have consumed roughly 334 square miles - an area larger than New York City.

The 40 confirmed fatalities, including 22 in Sonoma County, make it California's deadliest ever fire event, surpassing the 29 deaths from the Griffith Park fire of 1933 in Los Angeles.

With 235 people still missing as of yesterday in Sonoma County alone, and rubble from thousands of incinerated dwellings yet to be searched, authorities expect the death toll to climb.

Some 100,000 people have been forced from their homes, including 3,000 yesterday from the city of Santa Rosa, about 80km north of San Francisco.

The fires have damaged or destroyed about 5,700 structures, reducing homes and businesses to ash.


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