Smoke Plumes From Devastating California Wildfires May Extend To New England

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The town of Paradise, population 27,000, was destroyed last week by the Camp Fire in northern California which has burned down more structures than any other wildfire recorded in California. Together, they were blamed for 44 deaths, including two in celebrity-studded Malibu in Southern California, where firefighters appeared to be gaining ground against a roughly 143-square-mile (370-square-kilometer) blaze that destroyed at least 370 structures, with hundreds more feared lost. A total of 29 bodies have so far been recovered from in and around Paradise, equaling the deadliest single fire on record, 1933's Griffith Park fire. But when he returned to his house, he found only debris, ashes, and a burned down auto.

Officials and relatives held out hope many of those unaccounted for were safe and simply had no mobile phones or other ways to contact loved ones.

Authorities called in a DNA lab and anthropologists to help identify what, in some cases, were only bones or bone fragments.

A Northern California man who led a caravan of vehicles that was overcome by flames from a wildfire says he saw his friend die.

It is the largest of several infernos that have sent a quarter of a million people fleeing their homes across the tinder-dry state, with winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour fanning the fast-moving flames. Actor Gerard Butler said on Instagram that his Malibu home was "half-gone", and a publicist for Camille Grammer Meyer said the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star lost her home in the seaside enclave.

The death toll stood at two, a pair of adults found last week in a vehicle overtaken by flames a couple miles from Rasmussen's house. Those crews started heading to California on Monday.

PG&E was deemed responsible for wildfires in 2017 that ravaged wine country north of the San Francisco Bay area and killed 46 people, and this week's fires create new uncertainties for investors in California's utilities.

California wildfires: At least 5 dead, 15,000 homes threatened
Only a day after it began, the fire near the town of Paradise had grown to almost 110 square miles (285 square kilometers). The Woolsey Fire is one of two blazes burning just miles from the site of Wednesday night's mass shooting in Thousand Oaks.

Malibu resident Tony Haynes described how strong winds brought the fire through his neighborhood during the weekend, with the sky growing dark, saying there was so much smoke he put on his scuba-diving tank to breathe.

"Firefighters have never seen anything like this in their lives", he wrote. The fire began Thursday and raced toward Malibu and the Pacific Ocean, prompting evacuations in Malibu and nearby areas including Calabasas and Agoura Hills.

SunTrust analyst Ali Agha in a note to clients said the sell-off in Edison International was likely overdone because total acres and property burned so far in its territory were smaller than in fires a year ago.

The cause remained under investigation, Cal Fire said.

On if this is the new normal: We all have to accept that it is the new normal or as Governor Jerry Brown put it today, 'the new abnormal.' It's not necessary the frequency of the fires or the number of the fires, but from my experience.the intensity of the fires seems to be greater.

As of Sunday night, the fire had grown to more than 344sq km was 15 percent contained, authorities said.

The sheriff said that authorities have received more than 500 calls about friends and family members who are missing, and that 107 of them have been located.

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