California wildfire death toll rises to 79

Updated: Nov 22, 2018, 11:42 IST | AP

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea says the list of names of those unaccounted for after a deadly wildfire has dropped to around 700.

California wildfire death toll rises to 79
Representational pic

A Northern California sheriff says two more sets of human remains were found Monday, bringing the total number killed in a devastating California wildfire to 79.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea says the list of names of those unaccounted for after a deadly wildfire has dropped to around 700.

He says that's about 300 fewer than what was posted at the start of Monday. Authorities stressed that many of the people on the list may be safe and unaware they have been reported missing.

The so-called Camp Fire swept through the rural town of Paradise on November 8. It has destroyed nearly 12,000 homes.

Officials say fire crews are still in the area working to clear downed utility poles, burned trees and other hazards.

Cal Fire officials say the blaze has destroyed nearly 300 apartment buildings and more than 10,000 homes.

The fire has charred 236 square miles (611 square kilometers) since it ignited Nov. 8. It continues to burn in steep, rugged terrain in Plumas National Forest.

Fire officials say two men were arrested on suspicion of burglarizing a fire station during a wildfire that decimated a Northern California town.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Monday Robert DePalma and William Erlbacher were arrested on charges of looting, stealing a vehicle and being in possession of stolen property.

The department says the Concow men were booked into Butte County Jail on USD 250,000 bail. No information on attorneys for the men was immediately available.

The blaze that started on November 8 levelled the town of Paradise and heavily damaged the communities of Magalia and Concow. The fire continues to burn Monday in steep, rugged terrain in the Plumas National Forest.

Authorities last week arrested five men and a woman six suspected of looting evacuated homes.

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