The number of people missing in one of California’s deadliest wildfires soared to more than 600 on Thursday as the remains of seven additional victims were found by rescuers.
The seven additional victims brings to 63 the number of people who have died in the Camp Fire.Authorities said the list of missing people had jumped from 300 to 631 during the day as investigators went back and reviewed emergency calls made when the so-called Camp Fire in northern California erupted on November 8.
“I want you to understand that the chaos we were dealing with was extraordinary” when the fire broke out, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told journalists, in explaining the staggering new toll of missing.At least three other people have died in southern California in another blaze dubbed the Woolsey Fire, which engulfed parts of Malibu, destroying the homes of several celebrities.
President Donald Trump is set to visit the western state on Saturday to meet with victims of the wildfires, believed to be the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history.Many of the victims and the hundreds missing in the Camp Fire were elderly people who lived in the Butte County town of Paradise, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
California Governor Jerry Brown, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), toured the damage in Paradise on Wednesday.
“This is so devastating that I don’t really have the words to describe it,” Brown told a press conference. “It looks like a war zone.” Authorities said it was unclear when residents would be allowed back into the town.