Fires claim car­toon­ist’s home

Geelong Advertiser - - WORLD -

CAL­I­FOR­NIA’S deadly wild­fires have now claimed 31 lives — with hun­dreds still miss­ing — and de­stroyed the home of Peanuts cre­ator Charles Schulz (pic­tured), tak­ing all the fa­mous car­toon­ist’s mem­o­ra­bilia with it.

Schulz’s son, Monte Schulz, said the Santa Rosa home of his 78-year-old mother Jean Schultz, and his brother Craig Schulz was de­stroyed on Mon­day but no one was in­jured.

The lat­est ca­su­alty fig­ures mark the great­est loss life from a sin­gle Cal­i­for­nia wild­fire event in 84 years, with 3500 homes and busi­nesses so far in­cin­er­ated and 77,000 hectares scorched.

The of­fi­cial cause of the dis­as­ter is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, but of­fi­cials say power lines top­pled by gale-force winds on Sun­day night may have sparked the con­fla­gra­tion.

A resur­gence of ex­treme wind con­di­tions that was fore­cast for early Thurs­day failed to ma­te­ri­alise, giv­ing fire crews a chance to start carv­ing con­tain­ment lines around the perime­ter of some of the blazes. But fierce winds are ex­pected to re­turn across much of the state and a force of 8000 fire­fight­ers in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia are rac­ing to re­in­force and ex­tend buf­fer lines be­fore then.

Au­thor­i­ties have warned that the death toll from the spate of more than 20 fires rag­ing across eight coun­ties for a fourth day could climb higher, with more than 400 peo­ple in Sonoma County alone still listed as miss­ing.

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