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Death toll rises to 88 in North California's Camp Fire

By Allen Cone
Death toll rises to 88 in North California's Camp Fire
Members of the Plumas County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue rake through ruins in Paradise, Calif., on November 17, 2018. The death toll in the fire in Northern California increased to 88 Monday. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The number of confirmed deaths in the Camp Fire, the most deadly and destructive in California, rose to 88 people, officials said Monday night.

No additional remains were located Monday, but Kory Honea, the Butte County's sheriff and coroner, reported the numbers rose by three because of DNA testing.

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Many remains were significantly damaged and some were destroyed in the fire in Northern California. For example, Honea said firefighters thought they had located remains from two individuals, but they turned out to be three individuals after testing. In all, 54 have been tentatively identified.

The numbers of unaccounted for declined to 203 from 296 on Sunday. In addition, 2,689 people who were listed as unaccounted have now been located.

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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, whose agency runs the U.S. Forest Service, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke toured the damage in Paradise on Monday. President Donald Trump also visited damaged areas on Nov. 17.

They all want the government to have greater leeway to perform "prescribed burns" and extract trees.

"We're here because the president's priority is, 'Fix it,' " Zinke said.

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And Perdue suggested that timber from the nearby Plumas National Forest can be used to rebuild areas.

On Sunday, Cal Fire declared the fire, which began on Nov. 8, was fully contained and the agency has not given further updates.

In all, the fire burned 153,336 acres, and destroyed 13,972 residences, 528 commercial building and 4,293 other structures.

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The Butte County Assessor's Office in Paradise, which sustained minor damage, is reappraising burned properties, using the damage assessments from Cal Fire.

"It's good enough for our purposes," the assessor, Diane Brown, said to the Enterprise-Record.

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