In Paradise, the search effort for any bodies remaining in the rubble of the once quiet town has proven to be daunting.
As of Wednesday morning, the death toll rose to 81 and the missing persons list climbed up a little to 870 after seeing a small decline.
Authorities have been sifting through the crumbled homes and melted metal trying to identify any trace of human remains.
Tom Madigan of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department said that in some cases remains were so badly burned that they could not be recognized or just merely a few bones were found.
“We’re finding remains in various states,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. “I suspect there are some that will have been completely consumed. There is certainly the unfortunate possibility that even after we’ve searched an area, once people get back in there, it’s possible that human remains could be found. I know that’s a very difficult thing to think about, but that’s the difficult situation we find ourselves in today. “
The search is now facing a new threat and authorities are worried they might not find every single victim taken by the wildfire.
Two storms are moving toward Northern California and are expected to bring up to six inches of rain through Saturday, helping contain the fire but bringing possible mudslides along with it.
“The pros and cons are that the weather will be in our favor to contain the fire,” said Cal Fire spokesman Manuel Garcia. “But the cons are that there will possibly be loose terrain, fallen trees, mudslides and downstream flows.”
The LA Times reports, forecasters said the soil in the burn area cannot absorb rainwater, which could lead to fast-moving flows of mud, debris and even trees and boulders up to several feet deep that can be deadly.
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