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Hundreds missing as death toll rises in California fire

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 11/16/18, 11:03 am

The number of people unaccounted for after the Camp Fire in Northern California rose to more than 600 Friday, underscoring the enormous scope of the disaster. Authorities have made public a list of the missing, hoping that those who are safe will notify authorities. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said many of the people on the list likely were evacuees who didn’t realize they were reported missing. The death toll from the fire has risen to 63, and members of the California Army National Guard are still searching for human remains among the rubble.

The fire covered nearly 220 square miles, devastated the town of Paradise, Calif., displaced 52,000 people, and destroyed more than 9,500 homes. Honea said evacuation orders went out through thousands of emails, phone calls, and texts, but some people still reported not receiving them or receiving them only immediately before the flames reached their homes. Satellite images showed half of Paradise consumed in the fast-moving wildfire less than two hours after the first evacuation order.

“The chaos that we were dealing with was extraordinary,” Honea said. “Now we’re trying to go back out and make sure that we’re accounting for everyone.” Cal Fire reported Thursday night that the flames were 40 percent contained and full containment was expected by Nov. 30.

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Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. Follow Rachel on Twitter @Rachel_Lynn_A.

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