The latest california wildfires bring record 31 deaths boston herald

Colby Clark of San Francisco, left, comforts her mother, Bonnie Trexler, after being escorted by law enforcement to her home in Silverado Highland to retrieve medicine and some personal items on Wednesday, Oct., 11, 2017 in Napa, Calif data recovery from hdd failure. Trexler was one of the lucky few who found that her home was spared from the devastating fire which burned homes around her Monday. (Randy Pench /The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Credit: The Associated Press A San Diego Cal Fire firefighter monitors a flare up on a the head of a wildfire (the Southern LNU Complex), off of High Road above the Sonoma Valley, Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017, in Sonoma, Calif. A wind shift caused flames to move quickly up hill and threaten homes in the area. Three days after the fires began, firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes that had turned entire Northern California neighborhoods to ash and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)


An empty Lincoln Street is shown after residents evacuated Calistoga, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 how to get data from a dead hard drive. The entire historic town of Calistoga, population 5,000, was evacuated. In neighboring Sonoma County, authorities issued an evacuation advisory for part of the town of Sonoma and the community of Boyes Hot Springs. By that time, lines of cars were already fleeing. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

CORRECTS TO STAY INSTEAD OF ARE AT HOME Mason Heyman, 18, and his family stay after a mandatory evacuation order issued on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Calistoga, Calif. Three days after the fires began, firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes that had turned entire Northern California neighborhoods to ash and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Marshall Hayman, 26, and his family stay after a mandatory evacuation order issued on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Calistoga, Calif. He lost his home in Calistoga on the first day of the fire how to get data from a broken hard drive. Three days after the fires began, firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes that had turned entire Northern California neighborhoods to ash and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Oakland Police officer Anh Nguyen spray paints the street to mark that a house in Calistoga, Calif., is vacant on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. The entire historic town of Calistoga, population 5,000, was evacuated bad hdd data recovery. Three days after the fires began, firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes that had turned entire Northern California neighborhoods to ash and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Charred ground and only a few pieces are the remains of the historic Fountaingrove Round Barn Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, Calif. The barn was built in 1899 and was a hillside landmark how to recover hdd data recovery. Three days after the fires began, firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes that had turned entire Northern California neighborhoods to ash and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Jim Merriman, right, and his wife Lu, have a meal while spending the evening at a Red Cross disaster relief center Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, Calif. The couple had to evacuate from their home in the Mendocino Woods neighborhood of Santa Rosa. Three days after the fires began, firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes that had turned entire Northern California neighborhoods to ash and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

This Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, satellite image using shortwave infrared (SWIR) provided by DigitalGlobe shows damage from the wildfire in Santa Rosa, Calif best hdd data recovery. SWIR imagery allows for the ability to see though smoke to identify active fires, top left. Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through Northern California sending residents on a headlong flight to safety through smoke and flames as homes burned. (Digital Globe via AP)

This Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, satellite image using shortwave infrared (SWIR) provided by DigitalGlobe shows damage from the wildfire near Santa Rosa, Calif. SWIR imagery allows for the ability to see though smoke to identify active fires, top. Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through Northern California sending residents on a headlong flight to safety through smoke and flames as homes burned. (Digital Globe via AP)

This Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 satellite image using a Very Near Infrared (VNIR) provided by DigitalGlobe shows damage from the wildfire near Santa Rosa, Calif hdd data recovery chennai. VNIR imagery causes healthy vegetation to appear red and the burn scar from the wildfire to be dark brown. Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through Northern California sending residents on a headlong flight to safety through smoke and flames as homes burned. (Digital Globe via AP)

This Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 satellite image using a Very Near Infrared (VNIR) provided by DigitalGlobe shows damage from the wildfire near Santa Rosa, Calif. VNIR imagery causes healthy vegetation to appear red and the burn scar from the wildfire to be dark brown samsung hdd data recovery tool. Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through Northern California sending residents on a headlong flight to safety through smoke and flames as homes burned. (Digital Globe via AP)

Historic artifacts are removed from the Sonoma State Historic Park, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Sonoma, Calif. With fire raging around the area, authorities removed historic items for safe keeping. Three days after the fires began, firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes that had turned entire Northern California neighborhoods to ash and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Homes on Sky Farm Drive in the middle of the frame are decimated, as is the rest of Fountaingrove, Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, Calif how to delete hard drive data permanently. Three days after the fires began, firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes that had turned entire Northern California neighborhoods to ash and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)

A rooster walks by one of several burned out vehicles after a wildfire destroyed a home and farm on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Calistoga, Calif. Three days after the fires began, firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes that had turned entire Northern California neighborhoods to ash and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said Thursday night that two more people have been confirmed dead there data recovery from damaged hdd. That raises the statewide death total from 29 to 31.

While no single fire currently burning has killed as many as those, state fire Deputy Director Daniel Berlant says collectively this is the deadliest series of simultaneous fires in the state in recorded history.

Schulz’s son, Monte Schulz, says a fire on Monday torched the Santa Rosa homes of his stepmother, 78-year-old Jean Schulz, and his brother, Craig Schulz.

Authorities in Northern California say at least four people were killed by a wildfire burning in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills, bringing the state’s death toll to 29.

The fire is burning 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of several blazes in wine country that also broke out Sunday night and that have killed 25 people.

Fire officials say it has charred 16 square miles (41 square kilometers) but fire crews overnight made significant progress and it’s 45 percent contained.

Officials say progress is being made in some of the largest wildfires burning in Northern California but that the death toll is almost sure to surge.

Pimlott says crews have made significant progress against blazes in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and they’re being redirected to wine country.

He says the fires blackening California’s wine country are threatening dozens of communities and larger cities and that erratic wind gusts are expected in the area starting Friday.

More than 8,000 firefighters are battling the blazes and additional manpower and equipment was pouring in from across the country and as far as Australia and Canada.

California fire officials are investigating downed power lines and other utility equipment failures as possible causes of massive wildfires sweeping through wine country.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Janet Upton says it’s unclear if downed power lines and live wires resulted from fires or started them.

Jennifer Robison of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. says the utility is focused on restoring power and maintaining safety. She says they will not speculate about the causes of the fires.

Officials say recovery teams, some with cadaver dogs, will start searching for bodies in some areas devastated by wildfires raging in California wine country.

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano says officials are investigating hundreds of reports of missing people and that recovery teams will start doing targeted searches for bodies Thursday. He warns that identification may be difficult and take some time.

One of the California counties hard hit by wildfires this week chose not to use one type of emergency alert service to warn residents of possible danger.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Larocque says Sonoma County considered but did not use the Wireless Emergency Alert which sends a widespread message to cell phones and is sometimes likened to an Amber Alert.

Larocque says because of its broad reach officials concluded the message could panic people who were not in danger and trigger unnecessary evacuations that would snarl traffic and delay emergency vehicles.

Sonoma County did use another emergency alert service that texted thousands of warnings to residents to flee Sunday night. However, nearly 80 cellphone towers were knocked out or badly damaged.

Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said Thursday a blaze burning in Napa and Sonoma Counties is 10 percent contained.

Entire cities have evacuated in anticipation of the next round of flames, their streets empty and the only motion coming from ashes falling like snowflakes.

However, that could change Thursday as winds gusting to 45 mph (72 kph) and dry air are expected to pummel areas north of San Francisco where at least 23 people have died and at least 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott McLean told Oakland television station KTVU that winds were calm early Thursday and firefighters had made some gains overnight.

Officials believe at least 111 rural homes have been destroyed in a wildfire that is chewing through brush and timber on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada in California.

Yuba County spokesman Russ Brown said Thursday that damage estimates are preliminary and crews have had a hard time getting into mountain communities to survey burn areas.

Brown says overnight winds lessened somewhat, giving firefighters an edge as they beat back the fire that broke out Sunday north of Sacramento.