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Death toll from California wildfires climbs to at least 23 people

Death toll from California wildfires climbs to at least 23 people

The death toll from wildfires that are ravaging parts of California has now jumped to at least 23 people, officials say.

It comes after 14 more bodies were discovered in Paradise, one of the towns worst-hit by the flames.

Firefighters released footage from there on Friday showing the charred remains of abandoned homes and cars.

Around 6,700 homes and businesses in Paradise were ravaged by the blaze, one of the most destructive in state history.

Scott Maclean, a spokesman for California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, revealed the new death toll on Saturday evening.

He said no details were immediately available about the circumstances of the deaths, adding the victims' badly burned condition would make identification difficult.

An abandoned and burned school bus is seen in Paradise.
A structure is seen engulfed in flames in Paradise.
A row of burned vehicles in Paradise

Meanwhile, another wildfire in southern California was threatening 75,000 homes and more than 200,000 people were under mandatory evacuation early on Saturday.

In Malibu flames driven by hot winds raced down hillsides and through canyons toward multi-million dollar homes.

Home owner Will Buckley uses a shovel with dirt to try to stop the flames from destroying a neighbor's home in Malibu, California.
A firefighter hoses down a property engulfed in flames in Malibu.
A woman reacts as a wildfire burns in Malibu.

Celebrities were among those forced to flee, including Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian.

The blaze also threatened parts of the nearby town of Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people earlier this week in a shooting rampage at a college bar.

A home burns during a wildfire that claimed dozens of homes in Thousand Oaks.

US President Donald Trump has blamed “gross mismanagement of forests” for the fires and threatened to cut off federal support.

Meanwhile, images taken from a NASA satellite shows the scale of the fires from space.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory