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California Wildfires Kill At Least 31, Burn Thousands of Structures

Two major wildfires have killed 31 people in California. Two major wildfires have killed 31 people in California. |  Photo: ABC News

From Associated Press reports
Updated: November 12, 2018 12:02 PM

At least 31 people are dead in wildfires across California. Twenty-nine people have now been confirmed dead and another 228 are unaccounted for in a Northern California blaze alone.

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Ten search teams were working in the town of Paradise that was largely incinerated last week and in surrounding communities in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Authorities called in a DNA lab and teams of anthropologists to help identify victims.

Statewide, 150,000 remained displaced as more than 8,000 fire crews battled wildfires that have scorched 400 square miles, with out-of-state crews continuing to arrive. Fire officials are warning that whipping winds and tinder-dry conditions threaten more areas through the rest of the week.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency and said California is requesting aid from the Trump administration.

Northern California: Camp Fire

California fire officials say the fire that wiped out a town and killed at least 29 people grew slightly overnight and that strong winds that could fan flames are again expected in the area by Monday afternoon.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Monday the Camp Fire, which started Thursday near the town of Paradise, grew 3 square miles to 177 square miles. It remains 25 percent contained.

Fire behavior specialist at Cal Fire Jonathan Pangburn says the blaze was active all night long and jumped 300-feet across a portion of Lake Oroville at least three times.

Officials say more than 4,500 firefighters are on day four of their battle against the blaze.

After a lull of strong winds that make for dangerous fire conditions, the area near Paradise will have wind gusts as high as 40 mph by Monday evening.

Southern California: Woolsey Fire

Authorities have more than doubled their estimates of buildings destroyed in the Woolsey Fire.

Officials said Monday that an estimated 370 structures burned and that only 15 percent of their damage estimate has been completed.

The size of the fire has also increased to more than 143 square miles and was 20 percent contained Monday morning.

The fire erupted last Thursday as gusty, dry Santa Ana winds and spread rapidly through communities stretching from northwest of Los Angeles to the Malibu coast.

Some of the thousands of people forced from several communities by the huge Southern California wildfire are being allowed to return to their homes.

Authorities have also reopened U.S. 101. It's a major freeway artery through the fire zone in western Los Angeles County and southeastern Ventura County.

Credits

From Associated Press reports

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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