California wildfire: Number of missing jumps to over 600

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Posted on: Deutsche Welle | November 16th, 2018

The number of people missing in a northern California wildfire has more than doubled, local authorities said. The «Camp Fire» blaze is the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history.

A week after a devastating wildfire broke out in northern California, the number of people still unaccounted for has now skyrocketed to 631, authorities said late Thursday.

Firefighters have been battling to contain the so-called «Camp Fire» in the north as well as the «Woolsey Fire» in southern California that has also claimed several lives.

Death toll and number of missing rise:

  • The number of missing doubled to 631, after authorities earlier put the number closer to 300.
  • The death toll also rose to 63 after the remains of seven more people were found.
  • Out of the victims, 53 of them have been identified.
  • Several people who were listed as missing have been located, bring the total of people found alive to 227.
  • The fire is currently 40 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reported.

Dealing with ‘extraordinary’ chaos

In explaining the massive jump in the number of missing, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters that investigators raised the number after reviewing emergency calls made after the fire broke out last week.

«I want you to understand that the chaos we were dealing with was extraordinary,» he said.

Deadliest blaze in state history: The «Camp Fire» blaze has so far destroyed 9,700 homes and displaced some 52,000 people. It devastated the town of Paradise, reducing many of the homes to ash and rubble. It is both the deadliest and most destructive fire in the western US state’s history — more than doubling the death toll of a 1933 blaze in Los Angeles County that killed 29.

The Woolsey Fire, located north of Los Angeles, has killed at least three people and destroyed 500 structures. Scientists largely attribute the devastating blazes to climate change which has caused a prolonged drought in the state.

Trump to visit fire victims: US President Donald Trump will travel to California on Saturday to meet with people who have been impacted by the wildfires, the White House said in a statement. Trump sparked outrage over the weekend when he tweeted that the fires were to blame on state forest management and threatened to withhold federal funds.

 

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