- 'Raining hell down': death toll rises to 33 in California fires, as more victims found

'Raining hell down': death toll rises to 33 in California fires, as more victims found

The death toll in the wildfires raging through California has risen to more than 30, according to officials.
This comes after 14 more bodies were discovered in or near the decimated town of Paradise in the state's north, bringing the number of confirmed dead there to 23.
Two more people were killed in the south, near Malibu.
An estimated 250,000 people have been forced

to flee their homes to avoid three major blazes in the state.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has drawn anger by saying that poor forestry management is to blame for the fires.
Paradise is hell. A smouldering, sepia world in ruins. The air is acrid. Burning chemicals leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
Walking among the ashes of people's lives is eerie and awful. There is a profound sadness here. We pass a child's charred swing, a swimming pool filled with filth, and worst of all, a pet dog which did not survive.
Such was the intensity of the blaze that much of the debris is hard to recognise. Wafers of ash are drifting down like enormous snowflakes, smothering sound.
But it is not quite silent here. A sooty squirrel scrambles up a blackened tree in a panic. There are booms and creaks from burning trees and telegraph poles.
And soon, going from ruin to ruin, there will be the sound of those with the hardest job of all, checking to see if anyone was left behind.
The day after the Camp Fire tore through Paradise, forcing the evacuation of the nearly 30,000 in the small community in California’s Sierra Foothills, Randy Stump was still at home, just miles from the massive blaze.
Isolated and without cellphone service, he hadn’t realized how dire things had become. He heard the air tankers and saw the smoke, but like so many in the area, he didn’t know it was time to go until he saw the flames.
As he sped away with his brother and his dog, Ginger, he got a firsthand look at the destruction wrought by the fire, which has damaged Magalia and completely destroyed Paradise, leaving burned shells of schools, grocery stores and restaurants in its wake.
“It looked like Iraq,” he said, wiping tears from his eyes. “Everything is gone. It’s just a nightmare.”
The small communities, surrounded by forest, are popular among retirees, many of whom struggled to evacuate on Tuesday as thousands became stuck in gridlocked traffic. Wildfires are nothing new for the area – in 2008 nearly 10,000 were forced to leave – but the Camp Fire razed Paradise, killing at least nine people, the Butte county sheriff, Kory Honea, confirmed. About 6,500 structures have been destroyed, mostly homes.
Fire raged through the town of Paradise in Butte county. ‘We don’t have anything left,’ said a local father. Photograph: Neal Waters/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock


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