All 12 victims of the devastating wildfires that struck rural Mendocino and Yuba counties have been identified.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday identified the remaining four victims of a massive fire that rushed through Redwood Valley, a small, close-knit community about 10 miles north of Ukiah.
The victims named were: Steve Bruce Stelter, 56; Janet Kay Costanzo, 71; Jane Gardiner, 83; and Elizabeth Charlene Foster, 64.
The Yuba County Sheriff’s Department also released the name of the fourth victim of fires in that area: David Patrick Culp, 76, of Loma Rica. No details of his death were released.
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Stelter’s body was found near a vehicle outside his residence on West Road in Redwood Valley. The Sheriff’s Department said it appears he was getting the vehicle ready to evacuate “when he was overtaken by the fire.” His house was destroyed. Inside the remains of the home, authorities found Costanzo’s body. She was Stelter’s girlfriend.
Gardiner and Foster were found inside the charred remains of a home on Tomki Road. Foster was Gardiner’s caregiver, the Sheriff’s Department said. The pair had called Gardiner’s stepson about 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 9 – the night the fire struck – to tell him they were waiting to be evacuated by the fire department.
The Redwood Fire had burned 36,523 acres as of Thursday and was 85 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.
The fire in Yuba County – the Cascade Fire – is 100 percent contained, although firefighters continue to battle hot spots flaring up in the area.
Karyn Kiger, whose Loma Rica home was not burned, describes what it was like to evacuate and how it feels to be one of the few whose homes were spared.Randall Benton The Sacramento Bee