On Monday, Butte County Sheriff Kory L. Honea announced that the death toll for the latest wildfires raging in California has now reached 42 — making it the deadliest wildfire in California history. With more than 7,000 structures burned to the ground, the “Camp Fire,” as it’s been dubbed, is also the most destructive fire in the state’s history.
The effort to locate and identify the dead throughout the scorched region of California is now being bolstered by 150 extra search-and-rescue personnel, cadaver dogs, and two portable, temporary morgue units sourced from the Defense Department. These new resources are in addition to the 13 coroner teams already working night and day in the wake of the blaze.
“My sincere hope is that I don’t have to come here each night and report a higher and higher number,” Sheriff Honea said. However, other officials have predicted that the death toll will likely continue to rise. There are currently more than 200 residents that the fire department has listed as “missing.” While some likely evacuated, search teams expect to find the remains of some of those people in the ashes left by the fire.
The Camp Fire is now considered to be about 30% contained, with around 15,500 structures still at risk. It isn’t the only massive fire Californians are contending with, however. The Woolsey Fire has already burnt 96,314 acres of land and destroyed more than 400 homes. As of Tuesday, that fire is considered to be only 35% contained. Finally, the Hill Fire further south is nearly completely contained after burning 4,531 acres.