Indian rangers hunting killer tiger Grim search for fire victims
Cadaver dogs brought in as rescuers look for the missing
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