The 2018 Camp Fire: Integration of Rapid DNA into Disaster Victim Identification

Wednesday September 25th, 2019 // 10:45 am - 11:15 am // Oasis 1-2

In November 2018, the Camp Fire raged through Butte County, consuming 800 acres of Northern California per minute. It is the deadliest wildfire in California history. Kim Gin, working with the Butte County Sheriff, was tasked with integrating Rapid DNA into the victim identification work flow being conducted by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office. Kim developed processes and protocols in real-time, and the ANDE Rapid DNA system identified over 85% of the remains, most in less than ten days, and all of which were severely degraded. Rapid DNA was also utilized to generate Family Reference Samples and related software was utilized for kinship analysis.


Beginning with a few square feet of office space, Rapid DNA Identification expanded to take on a central role in victim identification. Faced with burn victims, among the most difficult types of remains to identify, Kim will discuss how she integrated Rapid DNA into a team of forensic anthropologists, odontologists, and pathologists. She will be joined by Dr. Richard Selden, who was responsible for the Rapid DNA work. Together, they will present results of the Camp Fire victim identification efforts and discuss the rationale and benefits of using Rapid DNA in the field. Finally, Kim will review the lessons learned from this experience, including sometimes surprising synergies that emerged.


Kimberly Gin

Coroner, Sacramento County Coroner's Office

Kim Gin has worked for the County of Sacramento for twenty years. She started with the County as a Probation Officer and transferred after one year to the Coroner’s Office as a death investigator. She was promoted to Supervising Deputy Coroner in 2012 and then the Coroner in 2014. She has investigated many different kinds of deaths during her career.

Submit Questions

Richard Selden

Founder, ANDE

Richard Selden founded ANDE (originally NetBio) in 2004 with a vision to move DNA analysis from sophisticated laboratories to the field, where it could have immediate impact on forensic identification in military, disaster victim identification, law enforcement, and homeland security applications.

Submit Questions