Sheriff: 88 Killed, 203 Still Missing after Camp Fire

The Woolsey Fire approaches homes on Nov. 9 2018 in Malibu

It was on November 8th that the fire began in the Sierra Nevada foothills and within a day it had destroyed most of the town of Paradise.

Search crews have pressed on despite the grim task.

It is the most destructive blaze in California's history and the deadliest wildfire in the USA in a century.

Officials used drone footage to help residents see if their homes survived.

More than 50,000 were forced to flee the flames, many who have lost their homes and were now living in evacuation shelters and makeshift camps.

US authorities said the Camp fire was fully contained on Sunday after burning for more than two weeks, killing at least 85 people, flattening almost 19,000 buildings and leaving 249 people unaccounted for.

It's unclear how it started. More than 1,000 firefighters remain, assisting with search and recovery efforts.

While rain complicated the search, it also helped almost extinguish the blaze, said Josh Bischof, operations chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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Authorities battling the Camp Fire made the announcement on Sunday morning (Monday NZT), after spending 17 days beating back a blaze that roared through Butte County, north of Sacramento.

The firefight was boosted last week from the first significant winter storm to hit California.

The wildfire, which ignited in a rural area November 8 before consuming the town of Paradise and roaring through nearby communities, has left a staggering toll. "Collaboration btwn federal, state & local partners is a priority when it comes to helping folks get back on their feet".

The weather service issued a warning for possible flash flooding and debris flows from areas scarred by major fires in Northern California, including the areas burned in Paradise.

In Southern California, more residents returned to areas evacuated because of another wildfire as crews repaired power, telephone and gas utilities.

With help from rainfall, firefighters have contained 98 percent of the blaze, which torched 154 000 acres (62 000 hectares) - an area five times the size of San Francisco, officials said.

The Woolsey Fire, a separate fire that burned through nearly 100,000 acres in Southern California and killed at least three, was declared fully contained on Wednesday.

"The guys will never say it's hard", crew member David Kang said.

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