The majority of these deaths occurred in the town of Paradise, which has been ravaged by Camp Fire

By Maria Pasquini
November 12, 2018 01:17 PM
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Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty

As the death toll from the three devastating wildfires ravaging California continues to rise, a reported 10 victims died while inside vehicles.

As of Sunday evening, at least 31 people — 29 in Northern California and two in Southern California — are dead and at least 228 people are missing as three fires rage across the state, the Associated Press reported.

Firefighters in the northern part of the state are battling a blaze — known as the Camp Fire — which as of Monday morning, had burned through 113,000 acres and was only 25 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.

In a press releases issued on Sunday, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the number of fatalities from the blaze had grown to 29. Over half of the victims were found in the city of Paradise.

A total of 6 additional deaths, all from Paradise, were reported on Sunday — “5 in homes and 1 in vehicle.”

On Saturday, an additional 14 fatalities were reported. 10 victims were located in Paradise — “seven inside houses and three outdoors — while four victims were found in the nearby town of Concow.

Two of those victims were found “dead in vehicles,” while the remaining two were found in homes.

In their first press release, the Sheriff’s Office stated on Friday that nine fatalities had been reported, all in the town of Paradise.

Credit: PETER DASILVA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
Credit: Noah Berger/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Five victims were found “in vehicles that were overcome by the Camp Fire,” according to the statement. As their bodies were badly burned, police could not immediately identify the victims.

An additional four victims were later found.

“One person was found inside a residence and three were found outside of residences,” according to the statement.

Commenting on how difficult the recovery process has been, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told the Chico Enterprise-Record that “there is so much debris in some of these areas that it’s very difficult to determine whether or not there might be human remains there.”

“In some cases,” he added, “the fire burned so intensely that it burned everything to the ground, and in some cases it melted the metal. In those cases, it is possible the temperatures were high enough to completely consume the body.”

RELATED VIDEO: 27,000 People Told to Evacuate California Town of Paradise Due to Impending Wildfire

In a press conference on Sunday about the Woolsey Fire, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Commander Scott Gage stated that two additional deaths had been reported, which brought the death toll up to 31.

“LA State Homicide Bureau continues to investigate the death of what we believe to be two adults individuals,” he remarked. “The victims were located Friday, Nov. 9 inside a burned vehicle in the area off Mulholland Highway.”

Noting that the investigation was still in its early stages, Gage added that “detectives believe that the driver may have become disoriented while evacuating the area and the vechile was overcome by fire.”

The names of the victims have yet to be released.

Credit: Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty
Credit: Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty

As of Monday morning, the Woolsey Fire had burned 91,572 acres and was 20 percent contained, Cal Fire reported. The third blaze, known as the Hill Fire, had burned through 4,531 acres of land and was 80 percent contained.

Although thousands of firefighters are working to contain the blazes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that “strong offshore” winds and low humidity “will promote conditions highly favorable” for a continued spread of the fires.

To help victims of the California wildfires, visit the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, the California Fire Foundation and the American Red Cross, for more information.