The grim task of recovering and identifying the victims of California's apocalyptic wildfires continued on Sunday as officials raised the death toll to 31 with more than 200 people unaccounted for.
With strong "devil winds" expected to continue throughout Monday, firefighters have been unable to contain the ferocious "Camp Fire" in Butte County, in the north of the state where 52,000 have fled their homes.
Most of the fatalities and missing come from the 200-year-old town of Paradise which was reduced to ash over the weekend. So far 29 are known to have perished with that figure expected to rise over the coming days.
Six more people were found dead on Sunday, in what was poised to become the deadliest wildfire in state history. Officials said the bodies of five people were found in burned-out homes and the sixth was found in a vehicle in northern California's Camp Fire, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters on Sunday evening.
The Camp Fire has ripped through 164 square miles, destroying more than 6,700 buildings, most of them family homes.
Some 228 people are still unaccounted for, Mr Honea said, while another 137 people have been located after friends or relatives reported being unable to contact them.
But on Sunday, officials were making arrangements to bring in a mobile DNA laboratory so that people with missing relatives could provide samples to help identify recovered remains.
Anthropologists are working alongside coroners to help examine body parts sifted from scorched rubble.
At the ruined Holly Hills Mobile Estate, yellow police tape marked spots tagged "Doe C" and "Doe D," suggesting that bodies were found there.
Mr Honea said in many cases the only remains they were able to find were bones or bone fragments. “This weighs heavy on all of us,” he said. “Myself and especially those staff members who are out there doing what is important work but certainly difficult work.”
Paradise resident Jan MacGregor, 81, returned home to discover nothing left but a large metal safe and some pipework he recognised. "We knew Paradise was a prime target for forest fire over the years," he said. "We've had 'em come right up to the city limits - oh yeah - but nothing like this."
Meanwhile, weather conditions are not favourable for the thousands of firemen fighting the flames with severe hot and dry Santa Ana "devil winds" coming from Death Valley blasting the state for the next day or so.
"This is getting bad," said Marc Chenard, of the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Centre. "We'll get sustained winds of up to 40 mph and gusts between 60 mph and 70 mph. It's nothing but bad news."
Five hundred miles south, the celebrity enclave of Malibu and its surrounding areas remained under a mandatory evacuation as a separate blaze, named the "Woolsey Fire", threatened to spread, barely five per cent contained.
By Sunday morning, around 83,000 acres had been affected with at least 177 structures burnt to the ground.
Gerard Butler, the Scottish actor, had lost his home to the Woolsey Fire, he revealed on Sunday. The 48-year-old returned to check on the Malibu property to discover it had burned to the ground. He posted a photo of the remains on Twitter which also shows a destroyed vehicle.
Returned to my house in Malibu after evacuating. Heartbreaking time across California. Inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters. Thank you @LAFD. If you can, support these brave men and women at https://t.co/ei7c7F7cZx. pic.twitter.com/AcBcLtKmDU— Gerard Butler (@GerardButler) November 11, 2018
Evacuation orders had been issued for some 88,000 homes in Ventura County and neighbouring Los Angeles County. Two people were found dead in a burnt out car in a driveway on Mulholland Highway.
California has long suffered a wildfire season but they have intensified in recent years due to a five-year drought and warmer weather attributed to climate change.
More housing has also been built in forest areas, increasing the risk to lives.
Donald Trump, the US president, has repeatedly blamed the fires on human mismanagement of forests and infuriated Californians by threatening to stop federal aid.
"With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart," he said on Sunday morning.
The president of the California firefighters union excoriated Mr Trump.
"The president's message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is Ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines," said Brian Rice, president of the California firefighters union.