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California wildfires: 4 McKinney Fire victims identified via DNA, dental analysis

SISKIYOU COUNTY, Calif. — Four people killed in July’s McKinney Fire, California’s largest of 2022, have been identified through DNA and dental analysis, officials confirmed Friday.

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The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims, all of whom were residents of the Klamath River community, as Kathleen Shoopman, 73; Charles Kays, 79; Judith Kays, 82; and John Cogan, 76, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

According to the newspaper, all four victims died around July 29, when “extreme fire weather” caused the blaze to explode overnight.

The fire ignited near the California-Oregon border in late July, scorching more than 60,000 acres and destroying nearly 185 Northern California structures, including 90 residences, CNN reported.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the McKinney Fire was 95% contained on Saturday and has injured 12 people in addition to those killed, the network reported.

Shoopman, whose identity was made public in July, was a fire lookout for the U.S. Forest Service who died at her home of nearly 50 years near the Klamath River, the Chronicle reported.

Meanwhile, public records indicated that Charles Kays, a retired lawyer, was married to Judith Kays, and that the two had lived in the area for decades, the newspaper reported.

“The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victims,” Siskiyou County Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue stated in a news release.