Words by: Kevin Keise
The fire that began five days ago, and still burning uncontrollably, on Camp Road in Paradise, North California just became the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history. Monday as the death total rose to 42; President Donald Trump declared the devastation as a major disaster.
“I just approved an expedited request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of California,” he wrote on Twitter. “Wanted to respond quickly in order to alleviate some of the incredible suffering going on. I am with you all the way. God Bless all of the victims and families affected.”
As officials continued to search for the remains of thousand burned-out lost homes, they recovered the remains of 13 additional victims; three were found in the Concow area.
Three of the 13 victims identified Monday were Ernest Foss, 65, of Paradise; Jesus Fernandez, 48, of Concow; and Carl Wiley, 77, of Magalia.
This death total shatters the previous record held by a Los Angeles brush fire in 1933 that killed 29.
The 42 bodies found in Northen California, combined with the bodies found in the Woolsey Fire in Southern California brings the state-wide deaths from active wildland fires to 44.
In a Monday wildfire update that happened 7 p.m. (10 p.m. ET), the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the Camp Fire burned through 117,000 acres and is 30 percent contained.
Officials have said the blaze may not be fully contained until the end of the month and is still unclear how many people were still missing after the inferno roared through rural Butte County, north of Sacramento.