The deadly blaze turned the northern California town of Paradise and its surrounding areas into a raging inferno during the weekend, destroying at least 14,000 homes and structures across Butte County.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the incident was “an unprecedented event.” Officials say almost 300 people are still missing after the intense wildfire. Experts estimate insured property losses will cost at least $4 billion.
The Northern California Camp Fire has reduced at least 237.5 square miles to cinder, but firefighters have had success in keeping it from creeping into Oroville, a town of almost 20,000 people.
The fire was part of a twin set of wildfires at both ends of the state. More than a thousand residents were forced to evacuate during the two infernos, but most have been allowed to return while authorities reopened U.S. 101.
In Southern California, firefighters have made progress in battling the massive blaze that has claimed the lives of two people and razed more than 400 structures.
The 85 fatalities in Northern California makes the Camp Fire the deadliest single fire on the state’s record, surpassing the 1933 Los Angeles blaze that killed 29 people.
Last year, a series of wildfires in Northern California’s wine country claimed the lives of 44 people and destroyed more than 5,000 homes.
The search for bodies continues as authorities brought in cadaver dogs, portable morgue units and additional search and rescue personnel to help find more remains.
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