The death toll from a huge blaze in northern California rose to 44 on Monday, making it the deadliest wildfire in state history.
Thousands of firefighters spent a fifth day digging battle lines to contain the “Camp Fire” in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains north of Sacramento, while search teams were on a grim mission to recover the dead.
“As of today, an additional 13 human remains have been recovered, which brings the total number to 42.
“The blaze is “the deadliest wildland fire in California history,” Sheriff Kory Honea told a news conference.
Although it is difficult to be certain due to inconsistencies in record keeping and categorization, the Camp Fire appears to deadliest American wildfire in a century — since the Cloquet Fire killed an estimated 1,000 people in Minnesota in 1918.
More than 5,100 firefighters from as far as the states of Washington and Texas have been working to halt the advance of the inferno.
Also, search teams backed by anthropologists and a DNA lab pick through the charred ruins to identify remains — sometimes reduced to no more than shards of bone.