In­dian rangers hunt­ing killer tiger Grim search for fire vic­tims

Ca­daver dogs brought in as res­cuers look for the miss­ing

The Star Malaysia - - World -

SONOMA (Cal­i­for­nia):

Teams with ca­daver dogs be­gan a grim search for more dead in parts of Cal­i­for­nia wine coun­try dev­as­tated by wild­fires, re­sort­ing in some cases to se­rial num­bers stamped on med­i­cal im­plants to iden­tify re­mains that turned up in the charred ru­ins.

New deaths con­firmed on Thurs­day took the toll to 31, mak­ing this the dead­li­est week of wild­fires in Cal­i­for­nia his­tory.

Many of the flames still burned out of con­trol, and the fires grew to more than 777sq-km, an area as large as New York City.

Sonoma and Napa coun­ties en­dured a fourth day of chok­ing smoke while many res­i­dents fled to await word on their homes and loved ones.

A forecast for gusty winds and dry air threat­ened to fan the fires fur­ther.

Some of the state’s most his­toric tourist sites, in­clud­ing Sonoma city and Cal­is­toga in Napa Val­ley, were ghost towns pop­u­lated only by fire crews try­ing to stop the ad­vanc­ing in­fer­nos.

Sonoma County Sher­iff Robert Gior­dano said of­fi­cials were still in­ves­ti­gat­ing hun­dreds of re­ports of miss­ing peo­ple and that re­cov­ery teams would be­gin con­duct­ing “tar­geted searches” for spe­cific res­i­dents at their last known ad­dresses.

“We have found bod­ies al­most com­pletely in­tact, and we have found bod­ies that were noth­ing more than ash and bones,” the sher­iff said.

Some re­mains have been iden­ti­fied us­ing med­i­cal de­vices un­cov­ered in the scorched heaps that were once homes.

Metal im­plants, such as ar­ti­fi­cial hips, have ID num­bers that helped put names to vic­tims, he said.

At least 3,500 homes and busi­nesses have been de­stroyed and an es­ti­mated 25,000 peo­ple forced to flee.

A to­tal count of 22 fires on Wed­nes­day fell to 21 on Thurs­day be­cause two large fires merged, said state Fire Chief Ken Pim­lott.

Res­i­dents who evac­u­ated are thank­ful they sur­vived or kept their homes, but gnawed by guilt about the fate of their neigh­bours.

Jeremy Adams said on Thurs­day that shift­ing winds, a lit­tle wa­ter from his hose and some luck spared his home in Santa Rosa from the in­ferno. Most of the other homes in the area were de­stroyed.

Drive past his cor­ner house, and noth­ing re­mains for al­most a mile.

“I still feel that guilty feel­ing. Why do we get spared and them not? To see them come back to what they have, or don’t have, was pretty hor­ri­fy­ing.”

Adams and his wife walked around what’s left of their neigh­bour­hood on Mon­day, but now they stay away. “It’s just too sad,” he said. Ryan Nel­son lives in the same neigh­bour­hood and fears his el­derly neigh­bours, one of whom has mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, didn’t make it out of their home. He won­ders whether he could have done more to help.

“We’re in the mid­dle of the city, so that’s never crossed any­body’s mind here in terms of every­thing be­ing a to­tal fire loss,” said Nel­son, adding while some part of his house was in ru­ins, his neigh­bour’s home was a to­tal loss. — AP MUM­BAI: Armed park rangers are des­per­ately try­ing to kill or cap­ture a “man-eat­ing” tiger blamed for killing four peo­ple in cen­tral In­dia, a forestry of­fi­cial said.

The two-year-old fe­male tiger was ini­tially cap­tured in July af­ter killing two vil­lagers and in­jur­ing four oth­ers in Brahma­puri in Ma­ha­rash­tra state.

It was later re­leased into the nearby Bor Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary but went on to at­tack and kill an­other two peo­ple. Its lat­est vic­tim, a woman, died ear­lier this week.

Rishikesh Ran­jan, field direc­tor of Pench Tiger Re­serve, close to Bor, said that a lo­cal court had ap­proved a shoot-to-kill or­der against the ti­gress, named “Kala”.

“We can shoot her but we would pre­fer to cap­ture and tran­quil­lise her,” he said yes­ter­day, adding of­fi­cials were track­ing the tiger us­ing GPS and wanted to catch her be­cause she is “spread­ing panic amongst vil­lagers”. — AFP

The lucky few: Many homes in Santa Rosa have been com­pletely burned down by the wild­fires that tore through north­ern Cal­i­for­nia but in the midst of it all some res­i­dents got lucky. — Bloomberg

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