California wildfire death toll rises to 81

Image Credit: @BerkleyFD / Twitter / MGN
Image Credit: @BerkleyFD / Twitter / MGN(KALB)
Published: Nov. 20, 2018 at 9:13 PM CST
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A state report says two more sets of human remains were found Tuesday, bringing the total number killed in a devastating California wildfire to 81.

The so-called Camp Fire swept through the rural town of Paradise on Nov. 8. It has destroyed nearly 13,000 homes.

Dozens of people who lost their homes in a deadly Northern California wildfire remain at a makeshift camp next to a Walmart in the city of Chico days after they were asked to go to a shelter.

Dozens of tents could be seen in a photo posted Tuesday on Twitter by a Sacramento Bee reporter.

Evacuees camping on the sprawling parking lot were asked to leave before rain arrives in the area Wednesday.

But some said they preferred to stay in tents because shelters would not accept them with their pets.

A note posted at the makeshift shelter says a shuttle will be available Tuesday afternoon to transport people and their pets to the Gridley Fairgrounds Shelter.

Authorities say bone fragments found within the Southern California wildfire burn area were there before the blaze broke out.

Los Angeles County sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida says Tuesday that a property owner discovered the human remains while surveying fire damage in the Malibu area.

Homicide detectives are investigating. The coroner's office says an autopsy is planned.

Three people died during the Woolsey fire, including two found in a car and one in the rubble of a charred home.

The 151-square-mile fire broke out Nov. 8 and destroyed at least 1,500 structures. Firefighters expect to have it fully surrounded this week.

Authorities are using a rapid DNA test that produces results in just two hours to help identify the scores of people killed by the Northern California wildfire.

The company ANDE is donating the technology. Relatives of missing people can provide DNA samples via cheek swabs. But not enough people have been coming forward -- only about 60 at last count.

Company spokeswoman Annette Mattern says hundreds of samples are needed.