Sep 16, 2015 4:44 PM by News Staff, Photo: KCRA
Authorities say they are expecting to find several bodies amid the smoldering ruins of a Northern California county hard-hit by a drought-fueled wildfire.
So-called cadaver dogs and their handlers are scouring Lake County in a search for missing persons thought to have perished in a fast-moving blaze that has destroyed more than 600 homes 90 miles north of San Francisco.
The body of an elderly, disabled woman was found Monday. Authorities are searching for a 69-year-old man last heard from Saturday night in his home in the same neighborhood.
State and local officials toured the disaster area Wednesday morning to assess the damage and to determine if President Barack Obama should be asked for emergency federal funds and aid.
Authorities have lifted mandatory wildfire evacuation orders for dozens of residents in the small Central California communities of Goodmill and Crabtree, east of Fresno.
California's largest active wildfire has charred 218 square miles of grass, brush and timber since it was sparked by lightning July 31.
But for the first time in more than six weeks, firefighters are getting a handle on the blaze that now has flames simmering in places. It was 67 percent contained Wednesday.
The fire also has moved away from the Sierra Nevada's Giant Sequoia trees, some of which are 3,000 years old.
Fresno County is about 300 miles southeast of where another massive fire is raging in Lake County in Northern California
Fire crews are gaining ground against a fire in the Gold Rush country of the Sierra Nevada foothills that has destroyed more than 400 homes and structures.
The blaze in Amador and Calaveras Counties has charred more than 110 square miles and was 45 percent contained on Wednesday. It is still threatening another 6,400 structures.
Forecasters say the area could see some rain Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the fire in Fresno County was more than two-thirds contained Wednesday, more than six weeks after the blaze was sparked by lightning.
It has charred about 218 square miles. Containment is at 67 percent. That fire is about 300 miles southeast of the fire raging in Middletown in Northern California.
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