California wildfires: Number of missing leaps to 600

California wildfires: Number of missing leaps to 600

The number of people listed as missing in one of California's deadliest wildfires has skyrocketed past 600, authorities said Thursday, as the remains of seven additional victims were found by rescuers. "It is the devastation that only fires of this kind can bring about".

Firefighters are also fighting two large wildfires in Southern California, where another three people have died.

Almost 9,000 homes and other buildings, including most of the town, were incinerated last Thursday night, hours after the blaze erupted, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). Officials have released a list of 100 names of people who are still missing, including many in their 80s and 90s. It is believed they were unable to flee the fast-moving blaze or were trapped in their cars as they attempted to escape the inferno.

Volunteers say they want people to go to shelters, so clothing, food and toilets will be removed by Sunday.

The damage tally continues to increase for the most destructive wildfire in the state's history.

It said almost 5,500 firefighters were battling the blaze and it did not expect it to be fully contained for another two weeks.

"While the cause of the Camp Fire is still under investigation, if the Utility's equipment is determined to be the cause, the Utility could be subject to significant liability in excess of insurance coverage that would be expected to have a material impact on PG&E Corporation's and the Utility's financial condition, results of operations, liquidity, and cash flows", the utility company told the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. It was 40 percent contained as of Wednesday evening.

"This is one of the worst disasters I've seen in my career, hands down", Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said.

Governor Jerry Brown escorted Zinke on the trip, and stated, "I've issued an executive order that will speed up recovery and cut red tape".

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

The complaint alleged that the fire began on November 8 when a high voltage transmission line failed, igniting tinder-dry vegetation.

Pacific Gas & Electric, commonly referred to as PG&E, the utility company in Northern California, may be responsible for the Camp Fire that's now burning Northern California.

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