Dogs and portable morgues: Search intensifies in fire zone

Celebrities amoung those with lost homes in the Californian wildfires

Search teams will fan out across the charred landscape of Paradise, California looking for human remains on Tuesday as authorities prepare for a rise in the deathcount from the state's deadliest wildfire.

Authorities said 42 people were killed when the blaze incinerated the town of Paradise in northern California.

"My honest hope is that I don't have to come here each night and report a higher and higher number", Kory L Honea, Butte County Sheriff and Coroner, said at a news conference on Monday night. Hundreds of kilometres to the south, at least two people have died in the Woolsey fire threatening the wealthy beach community of Malibu, near Los Angeles.

Due to the Camp Fire's strength and size, evacuations were ordered for whole towns and communities including Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley.

North Valley Animal Disaster Group has received about 5,000 calls for help since Thursday.

It has virtually destroyed the town of Paradise.

Ventura County officials said residents in the Carlisle Canyon, Lake Sherwood and Boney Mountain areas, and those downwind of the flare-up, should be prepared to evacuate. Honea said his officers have received requests from relatives of those living in the area to check on more than 1,500 people.

"It is not a safe environment whatsoever", he said.

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At least 42 fatalities have been confirmed so far, a tally that ranks as the most ever from a single northern California wildfire - surpassing the 25 lives lost in the 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm - and ties the all-time statewide record set in 1933 by the Griffith Park blaze in Los Angeles.

Both fires have spread with an erratic intensity that has strained resources and kept firefighters struggling to keep up with the flames while catching many residents by surprise. PG&E had no comment on the email, and state officials said the cause of the inferno was under investigation. Their burned bodies were found in a vehicle near Mulholland Highway.

Winds of up to 40 miles per hour (60 km per hour) were expected to continue in Southern California through Tuesday, heightening the risk of fresh blazes ignited by scattered embers.

Officials said Monday that an estimated 370 structures burned in the Woolsey fire and that only 15 per cent of their damage estimate has been completed.

Over in Southern California, 57,000 structures are still threatened by the Woolsey Fire, as it is only 30 percent contained too.

On Sunday, Hollwood actor Gerard Butler - of 300 fame - showed his Twitter followers what the Woolsey Fire did to his Malibu home: Behind him stood the charred frames of a vehicle and a building.

The fire has been termed the deadliest in the state's history and the most destructive in terms of property losses.

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