631 reported missing, 63 dead in California wildfire

Drone footage of the destroyed town of Paradise in northern California

Image Drone footage of the destroyed town of Paradise in northern California

Almost 9,000 homes and most of the Paradise was incinerated hours after the blaze erupted, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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 U.S. state has ever known.

Authorities have attributed the high number of fatalities in part to the staggering speed with which the wind-driven flames raced through Paradise, a town of 27,000 residents.

TRT World's Ediz Tiyansan reports from California.

More than 5,000 fire personnel were battling the blaze that started a week ago and has displaced 52,000 people.

23 killed, 110 missing in California wildfires
The state's most destructive fire in at least a century has burned down more than 6,700 buildings, nearly all of them homes. In Northern California, the Camp Fire has grown at a pace of 80 football fields per minute after starting Thursday morning.

What was left was a ghostly, smoky expanse of empty lots covered in ash and strewn with twisted wreckage and debris.

Honea said that while recovery efforts remain hard, increased resources have helped "bring more order to the chaos that we're dealing with". An army of firefighters, many from distant states, labored to contain and suppress the flames. "The level of chaos we were dealing with was extraordinary", says Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea, whose office released the list of names.

The Camp Fire that's burning in Butte County is the deadliest wildfire in California state history.

The Woolsey Fire has razed 98,000 acres (39,660 hectares) and has been 62 percent contained. As of now, 56 are dead and 297 people are missing. Portable toilets were also brought in. "There are more evacuees, more people running out of money for hotels".

Nicole and Eric Montague, along with their 16-year-old daughter, showed up for free food but have been living with extended family in the neighboring city of Chico, in a one-bedroom apartment filled with 15 people and nine dogs. "Each trip I say 'this is the worst fire I have seen, ' and now we're here today, and I'll say 'this is the worst fire that I have seen'". "It just happened so quick". Chester, who doesn't want to know yet whether her home survived, said "I want to help. I love you, '" Nicole said.

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