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Death toll rises to 76 in California fire

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for and the death toll from the country’s deadliest wildfire in a century climbed to 76, authorities said Saturday, hours after President Donald Trump surveyed what remained of a decimated Northern California community.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea pleaded with fire evacuees to check the roster of people reported as unreachable by family and friends and to call in if they are safe.

Deputies have located hundreds of people to date, but the overall number keeps growing because officials are adding names, including those reported as missing during the disaster’s chaotic early hours, Honea said.

“It’s really very important for you to take a look at the list and call us if you’re on the list,” he said.

The remains of five more people were found Saturday, including four in the decimated town of Paradise and one in nearby Concow, bringing the number of dead to 76.

Honea said that among the dead was Lolene Rios, 56, whose son Jed tearfully told KXTV in Sacramento that his mother “had an endless amount of love for me”.

Trump toured the area on Saturday, joined by California’s outgoing and incoming governors, both Democrats who have traded sharp barbs with the Republican administration.

He also visited Southern California, where firefighters were making progress on a wildfire that tore through communities west of Los Angeles from Thousand Oaks to Malibu, killing three people.

The president pledged the full support of the federal government. Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov-elect Gavin Newsom thanked him for coming out.

“We’ve never seen anything like this in California, we’ve never seen anything like this yet. It’s like total devastation,” Trump said as he stood amid the ruins of Paradise.

Northern California’s Camp Fire has destroyed nearly 10,000 homes and torched 233 square miles (600 square kilometers).

The fire zone in Northern California is to some extent Trump country, and that enthusiasm was on display as dozens of people cheered and waved flags as his motorcade went by.

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