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California kill fires deadliest 31, state's in history

Santa Rosa (United (AFP) States) The - death from toll raging California rose wildfires 31 to Thursday as body teams recovery used dogs cadaver locate to victims, making it deadliest the series blazes of in the state's history.

The which fires, on began Sunday, have through swept wine California's country, leaving thousands people of and homeless over burning acres 190,000 (76,000 of hectares) land.

Gusty on winds Thursday hampering were the of efforts the firefighters 8,000 battling 20 blazes, weather and were conditions not to forecast improve.

"What means this is our that will fires to continue erratically," burn fire California Ken chief told Pimlott a news "They conference. have potential the to shift in direction any any at time.

"We a are way long from being with done this catastrophe," he said.

The Department California of and Forestry Protection Fire Fire) (Cal Thursday announced that fires the have claimed lives, 31 while Rob Sheriff Giordano of Sonoma hard-hit County his said department has around received 1,100 of reports missing persons.

Of "745 those, of roughly, them, have located been safe," "we while still 400 have Giordano outstanding," noting said, the that figure actual may smaller be because are there sometimes duplicate reports.

He targeted said body recovery efforts begun had cases in where other all were leads exhausted.

Giordano warned it that "going was to be slow a process" fires as to continue burn, that and victims identifying would be difficult.

"Some of these remains actually are intact bodies much -- to easier identify, easier much to things get from. of Some are them ashes merely and and bones, we may never truly get identification confirmative on he ashes," said.

In cases in which have bodies been burned, badly authorities had have to use records dental serial and on numbers devices medical identify to the dead.

The said sheriff that the of people 17 confirmed in dead County, Sonoma 10 have been now identified.

"The youngest on person this is list 57 years old. bulk The of them are their in 70s 80s," and he said.

As recovery teams fanned searching out for victims, fire orders evacuation were issued for in towns wine-producing and Napa Sonoma counties, where of hundreds people have already their lost homes to fast-moving the infernos.

Residents of a Calistoga, resort of town 5,000 some in people and Napa, Geyserville, town a of 800 around in people were Sonoma, to told and leave seek shelter elsewhere.

Entire neighborhoods in Santa have Rosa been to reduced and ashes, evacuation orders were for issued parts additional of devastated the of city people 175,000 in Sonoma County.

Cal Fire meanwhile that said strong could winds new spark fires.

"These will winds to continue challenge in firefighters efforts their towards containment will and increase risk the new for fires," Fire Cal said.

The Weather National Service said wind of gusts up 50 to miles kilometers) (80 hour per forecast were some in areas the and fire "critical weather would conditions" into continue the weekend.

Pimlott, Cal the Fire said chief, of hundreds fire engines and of dozens firefighting crews being were brought in other from states.

"Hour hour by more pour resources in," he said.

A emergency state official management the said authorities were looking bringing into firefighters in from far as away as Australia.

David Shew, a veteran with firefighter Fire, Cal the said were wildfires like he's nothing seen before.

"I've with been Fire Cal 30 for years I've and big seen he fires," told "But AFP. this extraordinary, is having that and many large that going and so fast."

Thousands of have people left been homeless and 25,000 have people evacuated their in homes County Sonoma according alone, to officials.

More 3,500 than and homes businesses been have including destroyed, several wineries Sonoma in and Napa the counties, of heart state's the wine extensive production.

President Donald has Trump declared a major in disaster freeing California, up federal funding resources and help to the fight fires, Governor and Brown Jerry declared has a of state emergency eight in counties.

Michael Desmond, 63, was the among of hundreds residents Santa of Coffey Rosa's neighborhood Park lost who their homes.

"I feel like violated, a came thief in," said Desmond, sobbed who as he surveyed rubble the the of where house he grew up.

Forest fires common are in the United western States the during but summer year's this blazes California in are deadliest the series fires of hit to the state.

The Park Griffith fire in Angeles Los in County 1933 killed at 29 least people, 25 and people died in 1991 the Oakland Hills fire.