More than 1,000 people unaccounted for in California wildfires
Rescue workers said on Friday they were searching for more than 1,000 people reported missing in a northern California town reduced to ashes by the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history, as the death toll increased to 71.
The sheriff’s “unaccounted for” list from the Camp fire leapt by hundreds of people for a second successive evening, up from 631 missing a day earlier.
Officials on Friday said remains of eight more victims had been found in and around the town of Paradise. The Camp fire, which erupted a week ago in the Sierra foothills 175 miles (280km) north of San Francisco, is the country’s deadliest in a century.
The Butte county sheriff, Kory Honea, said Friday that a list that he released Thursday of 631 names has now increased to 1,011 names. He called it “a dynamic list” that would fluctuate up and down and urged the public to consult the list to see if their names are on it and let authorities know if they are okay.
The White House announced that Donald Trump would visit California on Saturday to meet with victims of the deadly wildfires raging in northern and southern California.
Critics say Trump politicized the fires by casting blame on forest mismanagement; he repeated his statements in an interview with Fox News to be broadcast Sunday.
Authorities attribute the death toll in part to the speed with which flames raced through the town of 27,000, driven by wind and fueled by desiccated scrub and trees.
Nearly 12,000 homes and buildings burned hours after the blaze erupted, the California department of forestry and fire protection (Cal Fire) said. The fire left a ghostly expanse of empty lots covered in ash and strewn with debris.
Thousands of additional structures are still threatened as firefighters, many from distant states, labored to contain and suppress the flames.
The big rise in the number of missing is because of a detailed review of emergency calls and missing people reports, and the extension of the search for victims.
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