Searchers Rake Through California's Camp Fire Hellscape, Counting The Dead

Damon Dahlen
A member of the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Search & Rescue Team looks for human remains at a burned home in Paradise.

The now-infamous Camp fire continues to burn throughout northern California, wreaking death and destruction in towns like Paradise, where many structures burned to the ground. The death toll of at least 77 continues rising, with 1,276 people reported missing.

In Butte County, where Paradise is located, members of the sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team, along with volunteers, have been going house to house looking for human remains. The searchers, wearing helmets, coveralls and masks, are poking through the ash-covered hellscape, using sticks, rakes and cadaver-sniffing dogs.

The Camp fire has destroyed about 10,500 homes and torched 233 square miles. It was 65 percent contained.

For responders, the dread was intensified by the weather forecast. Rain predicted later this week could turn the grey ash into a paste, obscuring telltale remnants. One official told The Associated Press it was within the “realm of possibility” that the exact death toll would never be known.  

Here’s a look at the team’s grim work. 

Cal Fire and police teams transfer the remains of a fire victim found in a home in Paradise to a hearse. (Cayce Clifford for HuffPost)
Eris, a dog from the Butte County Sheriff's Search & Rescue K9 Unit walks with handlers through a devastated home Paradise, searching for remains. (Cayce Clifford for HuffPost)
A member of the Tuolumne Sheriff Search & Rescue team looks down the street of a neighborhood in Paradise that was destroyed by the Camp fire. (Cayce Clifford for HuffPost)
What's left of a home in Paradise. (Cayce Clifford for HuffPost)
Search & Rescue Team members map their course through a neighborhood in Paradise. (Cayce Clifford for HuffPost)
A headlight on a Ford pickup in Paradise was melted in the fire.  (Cayce Clifford for HuffPost)
A Search & Rescue Team searches with a cadaver-sniffing K9 for human remains in Paradise. (Cayce Clifford for HuffPost)
A Search & Rescue Team member wipes soot from a charred motorcycle, revealing the Harley-Davidson logo, in Paradise. (Cayce Clifford for HuffPost)
A rose bush burned by the Camp fire. (Cayce Clifford for HuffPost)
Views from a burned and smokey section of Skyway Road leading to Paradise. (Cayce Clifford for HuffPost)

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the location of Paradise as Tuolumne County instead of Butte County.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.