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California wildfire toll reaches 23

California wildfire toll reaches 23

San Francisco:The death toll in the raging northern California wildfire has increased to 23 with the discovery of 14 more bodies, a senior police official said.

Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea told the media on Saturday said 10 of the victims were recovered from the fire-ravaged town of Paradise, while seven were found in homes, and three outside, reports CNN.

Of the remaining four, two were in cars and two were in houses in an area known as Concow.

Saturday brought a break in the fierce winds that have whipped the three major wildfires in California that have destroyed a record number of buildings and displaced more than 300,000 people.

But officials said the gusts will be back Sunday and most evacuation orders remain in place.

"Mother Nature has given us a short reprieve ... but we know tomorrow Mother Nature's gonna turn her fan back on and the winds are going to start blowing," Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told reporters.

Another round of Santa Ana winds was forecast to whip the area on Sunday through Tuesday, though it may be weaker than Friday's.

The Camp Fire is the largest of the three major fires, swelling to 105,000 acres by Saturday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

It is the most destructive blaze in the state's modern history.

The Woolsey Fire doubled in size overnight, growing to 70,000 acres. The Hill Fire was at 4,500 acres.

Fire officials estimate the number of people forced from their homes statewide is more than 300,000; in Los Angeles County it is 170,000.

Firefighters were struggling to put down the flames. The Camp Fire was 20 per cent contained, while the Woolsey Fire just 5 per cent with the the Hill Fire 25 per cent contained.

In Northern California, nearly 7,000 structures have been destroyed, including 80 to 90 per cent of the homes in Paradise, north of Sacramento, according to officials.

In Los Angeles and Ventura counties, a significant number of homes were destroyed or damaged, fire officials said.

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