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Camp Fire Update: Rain helps northern California wilderness now reach 95 percent containment

PARADISE, California – Rain contributes to extinguishing a mortal weapon in northern California's Gold Rush country, but the moisture also…

PARADISE, California – Rain contributes to extinguishing a mortal weapon in northern California’s Gold Rush country, but the moisture also causes ash to thick paste and prevents the search for telltal fragments of bones that can indicate a body. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Friday the 153,336 hectares of fire destroying the city of Paradise is 95 percent contained CBS Sacramento reports.

The searchers resumed their grim task on Friday afternoon after a breakdown lighted in Paradise, California. They flew out over the ruins of a caravan park, some combed junk with rakes while others raised twisted metal to standing underneath.

Craig Covey, who heads a search team from southern California’s Orange County, said they were looking for a caravan park for seniors for the second time, as there are still people with the latest known address in this area.

The searchers, many in yellow raincoats and hard hats to protect against falling branches, searched for clues that could indicate that someone could not get out, such as a car in the driveway or a wheelchair disaster. They look not only on bones, but all that can be a pile of creamy ashes.

The nation’s deadliest firepowder in the last century has killed at least 84 people, and more than 560 are still unclear. Despite the bad weather, more than 800 volunteers searched for Thanksgiving and again on Friday two weeks after flames swept through the Sierra Nevada hills, the authorities said.

Covey’s team of about 30 had been working for several hours on Friday morning before they stopped and returned to a gap of hot coffee and food under two blue tents. An electric heater gave heat.

While the rain makes everyone cooler and wet, they keep the mission in mind, said volunteer Chris Stevens, who stands under a field awning the team was waiting for a big rain.

“All here are super-committed to helping the people here,” he said.

Two-day rain showers have complicated the search, but also helped to extinguish the fan, “said Josh Bischof, operations director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

When the rain cleans, government officials will be able to determine if the fire is completely out, he said.

Camp fire began on November 8th and has destroyed almost 1

9,000 buildings, most of them home. It is more than the worst eight fires in California history combined, said the agency with thousands of people displaced.

The volunteers interrupted by rain on Friday found other ways to help.

Covey and several team members took two big brown bags full of lunch to 64-year-old Stewart Nugent, who stayed in his home and fought with flames with a garden house, sprinkler and shovel. He has been there for two weeks with his cat, Larry.

The first winter storm hit California has fallen 2 to 4 inches rain over the burn area since it began Wednesday, Craig Shoemaker said with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

The weather service issued a warning for possible flooding and litter flows from areas affected by major fires in northern California, including those burned in paradise.

Shoemakers said the rain has been steady, and the forecasters expect the heaviest showers in the afternoon.

“So far, we have seen a quarter inch rainfall per hour,” he said. “We need to see an inch of rain per hour before it can cause problems.”

He said the rain was expected to subdue at midnight, followed by light showers on Saturday.

Recovery Crews Worked by Thanksgiving on Thursday CBS News Carter Evans reorted. Volunteers, including celebrity chefs like Guy Fieri, have gathered around this community, thanking Thanksgiving meals.

Among the volunteer servers are firemen like Jim Irving. He spent weeks already on fire and will now have dinner with his own family.

“To me it’s almost like … I’d rather be here. You know it helps other people and that’s part of what Thanksgiving is about,” he said.

Ron White lost his home and his father’s home in the fire. He was impressed to see firefighters who served the meal.

“I thank each of them as soon as I meet them,” White said. “I think these are absolutely wonderful people. They deserve every consideration they can get.”

In southern California, more residents returned to areas evacuated because of the 151 square kilometers of Woolsey Fire that crews worked to repair power, telephone and gas tools.

About 1,100 inhabitants were still under evacuation orders in Malibu and oincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, down from 250,000 at the height of the fire.

The fire broke just west of Los Angeles in the midst of strong winds on November 8th and burned through the suburbs and the wildlife park to the ocean, leaving large areas of black soil and many homes in ash. Officials say three people were found dead and 1 643 structures, most of them home were destroyed.

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