Published: Wed, November 28, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Catastrophic Northern California fire is finally contained

Catastrophic Northern California fire is finally contained

A total of 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) of rain is forecast for areas burned by the Camp Fire from Wednesday through yesterday, said meteorologist David Roth of the federal Weather Prediction Center.

Authorities have refrained from publicly estimating how numerous missing might have perished, but some who lived through the blaze have said the death toll will keep rising.

California's nightmarish Camp Fire is almost out after weeks of destruction, but firefighters are still finding new bodies even as the confirmed death toll has risen to 85.

Only 54 of the fatalities have been identified, according to the local sheriff's office in Butte County, a rural area north of the state capital Sacramento.

The firefight was boosted last week from the first significant winter storm to hit California.

The Camp Fire that started on November 8 destroyed almost 14,000 homes and burned almost 154,000 acres, (62,000 hectares), an area five times the size of San Francisco.

Craig Covey, leading a search team from southern California's Orange County, said those looking through the devastation in Paradise and two nearby communities were not told to stop, but that he chose to take a break until the rain cleared.

According to SF Gate, two rainstorms brought a great amount of precipitation to the area, which helped slow the fire.

Searchers will have a few more days of dry weather but starting late on Tuesday, another 2in to 5in of rain is expected to drop on the Sierra Nevada foothills through to Sunday, hampering work and renewing fears of flash floods and mudslides, forecasters said.

While the rain is making everybody colder and wetter, they are keeping the mission in mind, search volunteer Chris Stevens said, standing under an awning as the team waited out a stretch of heavy rain. "Everyone here is super committed to helping the folks here".

Crews are sifting through ash and debris looking for human remains while also trying to fix power, telephone and gas utilities.

41-year-old Leanne Watts, whose Paradise home was destroyed and is living with her family of six in a Yuba City hotel, told the Times her stay was being paid for until the end of the month by an attorney representing her in a lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric Co., a utility company whose electric lines may have sparked the fire. They said the mobile home park had already been hand searched, so they were re-examining it with search dogs. The blaze burned almost 154,000 acres in Northern California.

"We made great progress", Honea said.

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