California wildfire becomes deadliest in state's history as toll hits 42


The 41-year-old, his pregnant girlfriend April Love Geary were a part of a group of celebrities who were evacuated from their Malibu homes on Friday.

His only hope that the large home, once billed in real estate listings as "Shangri-La", would survive was that his next-door neighbor, Randy Berkeley, would not only protect his own house, but also Rasmussen's.

In an Instagram post, the star can be seen standing in front of a burnt out auto, which he captioned: "Returned to my house in Malibu after evacuating". It too has burned more than 4,000 acres.

"I'm still shaking. Every time I talk about it", he said. "He just went above and beyond".

Thousands of homes are still at risk, and forecasters expect gusty Santa Ana winds that drove the flames to continue into Wednesday.

Many of those allowed to return were left without power or cell phone service, even if their homes were spared by the flames. "It wouldn't surprise me" if it turns out that winds caused equipment failure that sparked a fire, he said.

Officials urged residents to heed evacuation orders.

A total of 7,072 homes and structures had burned to the ground as a result of the fires, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Because the state's populated urban areas have gradually slowed development and downsized population capacity over the decades, much of the state's explosive population growth has largely occurred in increasingly-far-flung and precarious areas, where drought-ridden brush is easily combustible and sprawling communities are flawless targets for wind-swept flames.

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"These are extreme conditions", Osby said.

He estimated that about 200,000 people were still under evacuation orders after repopulation of some neighborhoods began late Sunday along with the reopening of the USA 101 state highway that runs through the fire zone.

A smaller blaze in Southern California, the Hill Fire, was 75 percent contained, officials said.

Surviving Malibu mansions stood in stark contrast to an utterly blackened landscape.

The death toll remained at two, a pair of adults found last week in a auto overtaken by flames who have not been identified.

The 29 dead in Northern California matched the deadliest single fire on record, a 1933 blaze in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, though a series of wildfires in Northern California wine country last fall killed 44 people and destroyed more than 5,000 homes. The search for bodies continued Monday. The fire had grown to 177 square miles (303 square kilometres) and was 25 per cent contained, authorities said. The company also reported finding a damaged transmission tower near where investigators say the fire began.

The Camp Fire has scorched more than 108,000 acres of land in Northern California, while the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles has burned roughly 83,275 acres. "They are going to blow for the next three days".

The CCF Wildfire Relief Foundation works to help victims in the aftermath of a fire with finding new homes, getting their lives back together, and emotional support.

DigitalGlobe representatives said in a statement: "As you will see in the images, the wildfires are extensive and spreading through the area".