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latest news The search is on for more victims of the monster McKinney fire

Authorities are searching for more potential victims of the McKinney Fire as improved weather has allowed firefighters to gain ground on California’s biggest blaze of the year.

About 1,700 firefighters battling the 55,493-acre blaze were battling triple-digit heat and possible thunderstorms that could trigger dangerous conditions. There were about 10 other small fires burning in Klamath National Forest.

The fire, which was 0% contained, started Friday afternoon near Highway 96 and McKinney Creed Road, southwest of the Klamath River near the California-Oregon border.

Growth of the main fire has come to a halt over the past two days as more firefighters arrived on the scene.

Fire crews took advantage of more favorable weather conditions on Monday, including rain, and worked to establish containment lines to prevent the blaze from spreading. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Authorities said Monday that two people were found dead inside a burning car in the blaze area.

But some Siskiyou County residents are worried about other missing people.

Authorities recovered additional remains but did not determine whether they were humans or animals, Courtney Kreider, a spokeswoman for the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, told The Times on Monday.

A Chico State anthropology team with experience helping authorities identify victims of the 2018 camp fire was deployed to help with the effort, Kreider said.

At a community meeting Monday evening, resident Sherri Marchetti-Perrault described her heartbreaking story of escaping the flames.

Marchetti-Perrault told The Times after the meeting that her home near Highway 96 was destroyed in the fire.

“When we left, everything was on fire,” she recalls. “It happened so fast. We left with the clothes on our backs. We couldn’t breathe and we couldn’t see.

She thought of her 78-year-old uncle who was in the house with her at the time and refused to leave. She fears he has been killed.

“I know where he was sitting and I saw him,” Marchetti-Perrault said. “I’m sure it was him.”

Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue said he would look into the matter.

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