Two spectators watch as a wildfire burns along the 101 Freeway Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city’s foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes and other structures Tuesday and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Death toll reaches 63 in California’s Camp Fire, while 631 unaccounted for

Authorities said late Thursday the death toll from the Camp Fire has risen to 63, bringing the statewide count to 66. In addition, more than 600 people have been reported missing, according to the Butte County sheriff’s office.

Despite the grim update, cooler weather has helped fire crews gain ground Thursday against the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century as the search went on for more bodies.

Suzanne Kaksonen, who fled the flames with her two birds, said she’s been told she may have to wait six months before she can go back to Paradise, which was all but destroyed a week ago. “I don’t even care if there’s no home,” she said at a shelter set up next to a Walmart parking lot in Chico. “I just want to go back to my dirt, you know, and put a trailer up and clean it up and get going.”

At the other end of the state, crews made progress against the Woolsey Fire that destroyed over 500 structures in Malibu and other communities. At least three deaths were reported in Southern California.

California wildfires fast facts

Firefighters are battling two major wildfires in California. Here’s a breakdown by the numbers as of Thursday evening, according to Cal Fire and local officials.

Camp Fire

  • Location: Butte County
  • 141,000 acres burned
  • 40 percent contained
  • 63 fatalities confirmed
  • 11,862 structures destroyed (including homes)

Woolsey Fire

  • Location: Los Angeles County, Ventura County
  • 98,362 acres burned
  • 62 percent contained
  • 3 fatalities confirmed
  • 435 structures destroyed, 57,000 in danger
  • The “Camp Fire” in Northern California is raging north of the state capital of Sacramento, and the “Woolsey Fire” is burning outside Los Angeles.

  • Camp Fire now blamed for 63 deaths in Northern California

    9:05 p.m.: Officials held a press conference Thursday night with the latest details about the Camp Fire in Northern California. The Butte County sheriff said seven additional human remains were found earlier, bringing the total dead from the Camp Fire to 63 (statewide 66).

    They said a total of 11,862 structures have been destroyed by the Camp Fire, including homes.

    A FEMA official said anyone affected by the Camp Fire needs to register so they can receive assistant.

    An official with the California Highway Patrol said looters will be prosecuted.

    The CHP said road/highway conditions can be found online at the Butte County website. They said some 165 cars have been cleared from roadways.

    The Butte County sheriff’s office announced a total of 631 have been listed as “unaccounted” — a jump in the past 24 hours. The list can be found here.

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