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California fires: The questions we are left with
That isn't clear. Butte County Sheriff's Investigations Sgt. Steve Collins told CNN that authorities are working from a list of people whose loved ones have called in welfare checks for them or have reported them missing. From there, he says, officers go out to confirm if their structure is still standing or if the loved one who called in has heard from them. Rescue workers sift through rubble in search of human remains at a burned property in Paradise, California on November 14, 2018. Rescue workers sift through rubble in search of human remains at a burned property in Paradise, California on November 14, 2018. The process is made even more difficult, Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea said, by difficulty communicating with the displaced. "There are a lot of people displaced and we're finding a lot of people don't know we are looking for them," Honea said. If people find their own or loved ones' names on the list at the Butte County Sheriff's ffice's website, they should call the sheriff's office, Honea said.
Are the people unaccounted for mostly seniors? The list of the missing includes people of all ages. But it also has a lot of seniors, with one as old as 101. At least 73 of the 103 people listed as missing in the Butte County city Paradise are over the age of 65, according to CNN affiliate KSTU. Do officials have a final death toll?
The number of fatalities from the fires has gone up almost daily as officials continue to search. Many factors make it difficult for officials to reach a final death toll. One, according to Collins, is simply that there is still so much left to search. "It's not just the area," said Collins. "It's the number of homes, the number of trailers, the multi-story buildings. All of that changes the complexity of this operation." Then, he said, anthropologists must identify remains as human.
Search and rescue workers search for human remains at a trailer park burned out from the Camp Fire. And once authorities know they have found human remains, they reach another obstacle in identifying the victims. Honea has invited relatives of the missing to visit the sheriff's office in Oroville, California so authorities can collect DNA samples from them. The DNA will be used to help identify fire victims, Honea said.