California wildfires: 29 killed, hundreds of reports of missing people

CALIFORNIA–Authorities in Northern California say at least four people were killed by a wildfire burning in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills, bringing the state’s death toll to 29.

Yuba County Sheriff Steve Durfor confirmed Thursday that the four have died since a blaze ignited there Sunday night.

The fire is burning 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of several blazes in wine country that also broke out Sunday night and that have killed 25 people.

The blaze in the foothills has destroyed more than 100 homes and displaced 2,500 people.

Fire officials say it has charred 16 square miles (41 square kilometers) but fire crews overnight made significant progress and it’s 45 percent contained.

More than 8,000 firefighters are battling the blazes and additional manpower and equipment was pouring in from across the country and as far as Australia and Canada.

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano says officials are investigating hundreds of reports of missing people and that recovery teams will start doing targeted searches. He warns that identification may be difficult and take some time.

He says officials have found some bodies almost completely intact but other remains are “nothing more than ash and bones.”

Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said Thursday a blaze burning in Napa and Sonoma Counties is 10 percent contained.

Entire cities have evacuated in anticipation of the next round of flames, their streets empty and the only motion coming from ashes falling like snowflakes.

**Support Salvation Army wildfire relief efforts**

**Continuing coverage of wildfires**