More Than 600 People Missing, 63 Dead in California’s Deadliest Wildfire

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The number of people declared missing in one of California's catastrophic wildfires has more than doubled to 631, as the struggle continues to contain one of the biggest blazes the USA state has ever known.

In explaining the massive jump in the number of missing, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters that investigators raised the number after reviewing emergency calls made after the fire broke out last week.

Camp Fire, the state's deadliest and most destructive blaze, has killed at least 63 people.

Almost all of Paradise, including nearly 9,000 homes and other buildings, were incinerated on Thursday after the blaze erupted, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

"The fact that we have thousands and thousands of people in shelters would clearly indicate that we were able to notify a significant number of people", the sheriff said.

The seven additional victims brings to 63 the number of people who have died in the Camp Fire.

"The news didn't even know the fire was coming". "Some days there might be more people".

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"The chaos that we were dealing with was extraordinary", he said of the early crisis hours last week.

At least 59 deaths have been reported so far from the sprawling blazes in northern and southern California and the toll is expected to rise as body recovery teams with sniffer dogs conduct searches. The wildfire has destroyed roughly 500 structures in Malibu and neighboring areas, as it's burned more than 98,000 acres with a 62 percent containment.

Reeny Victoria Breevaart, who lives in Magalia, a forested community of 11,000 people north of Paradise, said she couldn't receive warnings because cellphones weren't working.

Numerous 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.

The blaze destroyed almost 8,800 homes in the former gold mining settlement.

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

Authorities said it was unclear when residents would be allowed back into the town.

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