California Wildfires Claim the Lives of 31, Leave 200 Missing
Six wildfires are currently blazing through California leaving at least 31 people dead and hundreds missing.
According to NPR, several wildfires began to rip through Northern California last week, and have now claimed the lives of 31 people, left more than 200 people missing, and displaced another 25,000 people. NPR reports that the fire, which authorities have dubbed the “Camp Fire” has destroyed 6,7000 structures including homes and business and has obliterated the entire town of Paradise in Northern California.
According to CBS News, the Camp Fire began on Thursday and has claimed 29 lives. Officials are fearing that the death toll will rise as search and rescue missions press on. The Camp Fire is the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history.
Further south, the Woolsey Fire has burned through Malibu homes and mansions in Southern California. According to CBS News, the Woolsey Fire has claimed the lives of two people so far. Reportedly the Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire, which are not too far from each other, have prompted the evacuation of over 250,000 people.
California’s governor, Jerry Brown is calling for the President to declare a “major disaster” in the state.
The Christian Post reports that the Woolsey Fire has been 15 percent contained, while the Camp Fire has only been 25 percent contained.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told NPR, "We are doing everything we possibly can to identify those remains and make contact with the next of kin so we can return the remains to the family."
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said The Camp Fire is the largest of the six fires that are currently ablaze, having already destroyed some 109,000 acres in Butte County.
The Billy Graham Evangelical Association has deployed its Rapid Response Team of Chaplin’s to the area near Sacramento, and are working with residents to bring them comfort amid their losses and suffering.
"The chaplains are there to try to help people get through just the next hour of their life," said the Rapid Response Team's manager of emergency response and logistics, Al New.
"We are definitely praying for the first responders, the firefighters, and that some way, somehow, the weather would change, and we'd get a lot of rain.”
He continued, "We're praying for the residents of those areas who are facing the fear of the unknown, the fear of the loss of friends and family and homes. It's a very strenuous time, emotionally."
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan/Staff