47544
45645

World  

Digging through the rubble

They are trying to find lost loved ones, to sift through the ashes of their homes, to count, identify and mourn the dozens of dead — all while the wildfires rage on.

Communities in Northern California prepared for another day under siege Friday, despite being driven to exhaustion by evacuations, destruction and danger in the deadliest week of wildfires the state has ever seen.

"It wears you out," said winemaker Kristin Belair, who was driving back from Lake Tahoe to her as-yet-unburned home in Napa. "Anybody who's been in a natural disaster can tell you that it goes on and on. I think you just kind of do hour by hour almost."

The death toll had climbed to an unprecedented 31 and was expected to keep rising. Individual fires including the Oakland Hills blaze of 1991 had killed more people than any one of the current blazes, but no collection of simultaneous fires in California had ever led to so many deaths, authorities said.

"We had series of statewide fires in 2003, 2007, 2008 that didn't have anything close to this death count," said Daniel Berlant, a deputy director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Hundreds more were injured or missing.

Real recovery would have to wait for firefighters to bring under control the 21 wildfires spanning more than 300 square miles (777 square kilometres). Most were less than 10 per cent contained. New evacuations were still being ordered for fires that broke out Sunday night.

"We are not even close to being out of this emergency," said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the state's Office of Emergency Services.

Choking smoke hung thick and then drifted over the San Francisco Bay Area, where masks to filter the fumes were becoming a regular uniform and the sunsets were blood-red from the haze.



More World News

World
48265
London Webcam
Webcam provided by webcams.travel
47812
Recent Trending
48865
Okanagan Oldies
46550
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada
48236



49175