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California fire death toll rises to 81

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The death toll from the devastating wildfire in northern California rose to 81 on Tuesday with the discovery of two more sets of remains, officials said.

The number of people listed as unaccounted for in the deadliest and most destructive fire in state history jumped up by nearly 200 to 870.

This number has been fluctuating a lot in recent days amid the confusion of the search for bodies in the town of Paradise, which was largely destroyed by the flames.

The figure peaked Saturday at 1,276, and on Monday was down to 699.

Now the number has gone back up after police worked through a backlog of voice calls, Butte County sheriff Kory Honea said.

Another three people died in a second major blaze that struck Malibu in southern California.

In the north, the so-called Camp Fire has scored 152,000 acres of land and destroyed more than 12,600 homes.

It started on November 8 and is only now 75 per cent contained.

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