California wildfires: Residents share images of missing loved ones and pets as search for hundreds continues

Chris Riotta

residents are posting large numbers of photographs of loved ones and pets online as massive wildfires rip through California - becoming the state's deadliest and most destructive blazes on record.

The pictures revealed residents and animals who remained missing after thousands were displaced in wildfires that began last week in the state’s northern and southern regions, tearing through Malibu and Ventura County, as well as the Camp Fire that killed at least 29 people as of Monday.

As the photos went viral over the weekend and into Monday, firefighters continued search and rescue operations for the more than 200 missing victims throughout the state.

One Twitter user shared images of three missing family members, including a 96-year-old and his wife who lived in Paradise, California. “We know it was burned to the ground,” she wrote of the couple’s home. “We have not heard from them since prior to the start of the fire.”

Others posted photos of grandparents, including an 82-year-old woman still missing after the fire in Paradise, as well as dogs, many of which had been sent to local shelters, where they have reportedly been held for a few days in the hopes their owners will locate them.

If not, those animals will likely go up for adoption in the coming weeks.

Many of the images shared came from seemingly young Twitter users who were posting photos of their older relatives, many of them grandparents who lacked mobile phones and other forms of communication.

Deputies were visiting shelters to look for any missing persons who had been reported by their families, while spotty call service throughout the weekend made it a more difficult feat to locate those who were equipped with cellphones or other methods of contact, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Many of the missing people had reportedly not been heard from since the start of the fires.

Horses dislocated by the blaze were also discovered by firefighters and local residents who battled the fires and later posted photos of the rescued animals to alert their owners of their safety.

Many of the photos quickly went viral on Monday as the focus shifted from battling back the flames to paving a road to recovery.

However, things may not be over yet. Reports indicate strong winds may once again pick up over the week, increasing the threat of the fires as firefighters work around the clock to maintain the size and scope of destruction.