Catastrophic Northern California fire is finally contained


The so-called Camp Fire killed at least 85 people, and 249 are on a list of those unaccounted for after burning for more than two weeks.

After a brief delay to let a downpour pass, volunteers resume their search for human remains at a mobile home park in Paradise, Calif., Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.

USA authorities said the Camp fire was fully contained on Sunday after burning for more than two weeks, killing at least 85 people, flattening almost 19,000 buildings and leaving 249 people unaccounted for.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in an incident update that containment is now at 100 per cent.

Craig Covey, leading a search team from southern California's Orange County, said those looking through the devastation in Paradise and two nearby communities were not told to stop, but that he chose to take a break until the rain cleared.

The number of missing continued to drop in the past few days, from a high of more than 1,000, as officials confirmed more people were alive.

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Crews are sifting through ash and debris looking for human remains while also trying to fix power, telephone and gas utilities. About 7 inches of rain fell over the burn area for three days without causing major mudslides, said Hannah Chandler-Cooley of the National Weather Service.

"The fear is that the rain will drop in intense bursts", meteorologist Brian Hurley said.

The fire has claimed at least 85 lives, a lot of them in Butte County, north of Sacramento, where the Camp Fire burned furiously. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said it was still too early to say when the search would be complete but said the region was being covered as quickly as possible, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The flames broke out November 8 and quickly ripped through 240 square miles (620 square kilometers) of dry brush and timber. The town of Paradise was a popular destination for retirees, with people aged 65 or older accounting for a quarter of its 27,000 residents. Most of the victims of the fire identified so far were of retirement age.

Ahead of the announcement that the fire has been totally tamed, authorities had already begun letting residents return to some of the worst hit areas to inspect the damage to their homes. Some 4,000 firefighters from throughout the state and the West battled the flames at the height of the fire.

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