Fires claim cartoonist’s home
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.