California wildfire toll matches deadliest ever with 29 victims

At least 31 people have died in fire zones in north and south California, where acrid smoke blanketed the sky for miles, the sun barely visible. 

California wildfire toll matches deadliest ever with 29 victims

The number of dead in a wildfire raging in California has reached 29, matching the deadliest in the state's history as recovery teams found six more bodies in the grim search through the wreckage.

The "Camp Fire" -- in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains north of Sacramento -- is the largest and most destructive of several infernos that have sent 250,000 people fleeing their homes across the tinder-dry state, razing 6,400 homes in the town of Paradise and effectively wiping it off the map.

"Today, an additional six human remains were recovered, which brings our current total to 29," Sheriff Kory Honea told a news conference Sunday at the end of the fourth day in the struggle to contain the blaze, adding that all were found in Paradise.

On the ground, cars caught in the flames were reduced to scorched metal skeletons, while homes were left as smoldering piles of debris, with an occasional brick wall or chimney remaining.

Scores of people remain unaccounted for, and several fire-affected areas have been left without cell phone service.

The Camp Fire has the grisly distinction of matching the 1933 Griffith Park disaster in Los Angeles -- until now the single deadliest wildfire on record, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

At the southern end of the state, where the "Woolsey Fire" is threatening mansions and mobile homes alike in the coastal celebrity redoubt of Malibu, the death toll has been limited to two victims found in a vehicle on a private driveway.

Los Angeles County Fire chief Daryl Osby told reporters of his gratitude to firefighters "who've done all they could do save tens of thousands of people's lives and thousands of people's homes."

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