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Death Toll from California Wildfires Rises to 59, 130 Still Missing

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Thursday, 15 November, 2018, 11:05
Death Toll from California Wildfires Rises to 59, 130 Still Missing

The toll in the deadliest wildfires in recent California history climbed to 59 on Wednesday as authorities released a list of 130 people still missing.

Most of those unaccounted for are from the Butte County town of Paradise, in northern California, which was virtually erased from the map by the so-called "Camp Fire" blaze that erupted last week.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told journalists on Wednesday evening that 461 search and rescue personnel and 22 cadaver dogs were involved in the effort to locate those missing and DNA testing was being expedited to identify the victims.

"Beginning Thursday, anyone who believes a family member perished can provide a DNA sample" to the sheriff's office, Honea said.

Paradise, a town of around 26,000 in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, was popular with retirees and many of those reported missing by the sheriff's office are elderly - in their 70s, 80s and 90s.