Week of wildfires now deadliest in Calif. history
Sonoma, Calif. — Teams with cadaver dogs began a grim search Thursday 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 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 777 square kilometers, an area as large as New York City.
Sonoma and Napa counties endured a fourth day of choking smoke while many residents fled to shelters or camped out on beaches to await word on their homes and loved ones. At least 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed and an estimated 25,000 people forced to flee.
A forecast for gusty winds and dry air threatened to fan the fires further.
FBI: Motive in Vegas shooting unclear
Atlanta — The FBI director said Thursday that investigators haven’t yet determined a motive behind the mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival, but they’re still digging.
“There’s a lot of effort being put into unraveling this horrific act,” Director Christopher Wray told reporters following a ribbon-cutting for the FBI’s new Atlanta building. “We don’t know yet what the motive is, but that’s not for lack of trying, and if you know anything about the bureau we don’t give up easy.”
Authorities have said Stephen Paddock targeted the country music festival the night of Oct. 1, opening fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and killing 58 people.
In other headlines
FDA advisers endorse gene therapy to treat form of blindness: A potentially groundbreaking treatment for a rare form of blindness moved one step closer to U.S. approval Thursday, as federal health advisers endorsed the experimental gene therapy for patients with an inherited condition that gradually destroys eyesight.
The panel experts to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously in favor of Spark Therapeutics’ injectable therapy, which aims to improve vision by replacing a defective gene needed to process light. The FDA has until mid-January to make its decision.