July 25, 2021

Authorities seek more than 100 missing in California fires

Authorities seek more than 100 missing in California fires


The authorities and emergency services continue today the search of more than 100 people who are still missing in the area affected by the gigantic fire that burned since Thursday in northern California (USA) and that along with another fire in the South have already left a total of 25 dead.

The state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Calfire, warned that conditions worsened again on Sunday because of strong winds after the brief meteorological truce on Saturday that allowed firefighters to advance in the fight against the flames.

The one baptized as "Camp Fire" has almost completely destroyed the town of Paradise, of 26,000 inhabitants and about 280 kilometers northeast of the San Francisco Bay area, where since Thursday the red alert has been activated due to the poor quality of the air because of smoke from the fire.

In addition to taking the lives of at least 23 people, this conflagration has destroyed more than 6,500 buildings, mostly in Paradise, and is already considered the most devastating in the history of the state.

The 23 dead, on the other hand, place it as the third deadliest fire ever experienced by the most populous state in the United States, just behind the fire of Griffith Park in Los Angeles in 1933 (29 dead) and Oakland Hills in 1991 (25 deceased).

According to the Calfire data, 4,050 firefighters are working on fire suppression tasks, which has already burned 44,100 hectares and is 25% contained.

The deceased were completely burned and in some cases recovered bones isolated from the rest of the body, so a team of anthropologists and experts in DNA analysis has moved to the area to help in identification tasks.

The origin of the fire remains unknown and Calfire spokeswoman Janet Upton said that investigators are exploring all possible causes, "including the possibility that the fire started from a spark of electrical equipment."

The state's largest gas and electric utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG & E), informed regulators that it detected a "problem" in a high-voltage line near the area where the fire was declared only minutes before that the first flames were produced.

In parallel to "Camp Fire", another large fire burns in the south of the state, near Los Angeles, in which according to confirmed today by the local police have died two people who were driving in a car.

The "Woolsey Fire" has burned 33,600 hectares in an area that includes the cities of Malibu, Calabasas and Thousand Oaks (where on Wednesday there was a shooting that left 13 dead) and firefighters have managed to contain it by 10%.

These two fires, together with the smaller "Hill" that burns in an area very close to "Woolsey", also in the south, have forced the eviction of some 300,000 people and have taken the governor of California, Jerry Brown, to formally ask President Donald Trump for a "major disaster" declaration.

If granted, the declaration would offer those affected by the fires financial assistance from the federal government for accommodation, unemployment, legal expenses and psychological treatment.

Just yesterday, Trump blamed the Californian authorities for "absolute mismanagement" by the fires and threatened to cancel future federal aid.

"There is no reason for these huge, deadly and expensive fires in California except that the forest management is very poor, billions of dollars are given every year, with so many lives lost, all because of an absolute mismanagement of forests," he said. Trump on your Twitter account.

"Either it is remedied now, or there will be no more federal payments!" Added the president.

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