Newfoundland woman's search for missing California couple comes to hard end

Devin Lawrence
November 16, 2018

The search for victims of a catastrophic blaze that reduced a northern California town to ashes has intensified as authorities posted an expanded list of almost 600 people reported missing in the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.

The wildfires this month are officially the worst in California's history - with at least 80 confirmed dead and 631 missing, over 1.6 million acres of land destroyed and more than $3 billion worth of damage caused.

The high death toll blamed on the fire's staggering speed fueled by dried scrub and trees as it raced through Paradise, a town of 27,000.

TRT World's Ediz Tiyansan reports from California. The fire has scorched some 141,000 acres and is 40 percent contained. An army of firefighters, many from distant states, laboured to contain and suppress the flames.

The new figure of 630 missing people is more than double the earlier figure of 297 listed during the day by Butte County Sheriff's Office.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said that of those found dead, 53 have been positively identified.

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Due to the administrative complications, it took longer for the official list of missing persons to be assembled.

President Donald Trump plans to travel to California on Saturday to visit victims of the wildfires burning at both ends of the state.

California authorities collected DNA samples from relatives on Thursday to help identify victims of the western USA state's deadliest-ever wildfire.

Denise Chester, an evacuee of the Camp Fire, hugs her son Antonio Batres as she volunteers sorting clothes at a makeshift shelter in Chico, Calif., on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. Public schools in Sacramento and districts 90 miles (145 km) to the south, and as far away as San Francisco and Oakland, said Friday's classes would be canceled as the Camp Fire worsened air quality.

Those who survived the fires but lost homes have been moving in with friends or relatives, or staying in emergency shelters. "Some days there might be more people". Many can not be with us today because they are fighting to protect their property and homes and they simply can not get out as they fight to survive without water, electricity, food, gas and, in some cases, shelter.

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