Number Missing in Fire Jumps Dramatically

Frederick Owens
November 16, 2018

More than 75 tents have popped up at the Chico store to house people evacuated from the fire that destroyed the town of Paradise and surrounding area.

The number of people missing in northern California's devastating wildfire has leapt to more than 600, and seven more bodies have been found, according to local authorities.

Camp Fire, the state's deadliest and most destructive blaze, has killed at least 63 people.

Authorities are blaming the high death toll and widespread destruction on the lightning-fast speed of the flames, which were driven by high winds through the parched land.

TRT World's Ediz Tiyansan reports from California.

At least three other people have died in southern California in another blaze dubbed the Woolsey Fire.

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What was left was a ghostly, smoky expanse of empty lots covered in ash and strewn with twisted wreckage and debris. An army of firefighters, many from distant states, laboured to contain and suppress the flames.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told those gathered at a news briefing that the number of missing persons reflected ongoing work by emergency response personnel sifting through reports, but said numerous unaccounted for may simply be displaced in shelters throughout the region.

Sheriff Kory Honea asked relatives of the missing to provide DNA to compare against samples taken from recovered remains to help identify the dead.

Honea announced the increased count at a news conference Thursday, after having said a day earlier that 130 people were unaccounted for. The fire has scorched some 141,000 acres and is 40 percent contained. As of now, 56 are dead and 297 people are missing. "There are more evacuees, more people running out of money for hotels".

They recounted being stunned at how swiftly the fire roared through Paradise the first night.

The sheriff said the dramatic change stemmed from reviews of calls that came into dispatchers since the fire broke out. "It just happened so quick". "I love you, '" Nicole said.

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