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Death toll in Northern California wildfire rises to 23

14 November 2018

An abandoned and burned school bus is seen on Skyway during the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 9, 2018. Only a day after the Camp Fire began, the blaze had destroyed more than 6,700 structures, nearly all of them homes - making it California's most destructive wildfire since record-keeping began.

The first fire started Thursday near Townsend oaks 40 miles (64 km) Northwest of Los Angeles.

"If you come here with the intent of taking advantage of the situation, we will arrest you, and you will go to jail".

Just hours after President Trump issued an emergency declaration to provide funds to help firefighters in California as they battle at least three major wildfires across the state, the president threatened to withhold the federal payments - citing the state's "gross mismanagement" of its forests.

The Ventura blazes erupted days after a gunman opened fire in a crowded country music bar in the county, killing 12.

Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu, which is home to 13,000, among them some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Butte County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Megan McMann said Friday she did not have details on the circumstances of the death. The Hill Fire was 15% contained. "I'm devastated by all that's happening", she said.

The remains of five of the victims in Northern California were discovered in or near burned out cars, three outside residences and one inside a home, Butte County's Honea said.

"We're just hoping that our brand new home that we were hoping to move into tomorrow is not burned to the ground", Winstead said.

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"We're fine, we're at Zuma Beach and we're probably going to sleep in the vehicle tonight", Martin Sheen told Fox News 11, adding that it was the worst fire he had seen in 48 years of living in Malibu.

Even outside the evacuation zone, the impact of the fire was being felt by others in the entertainment industry.

"There was really no firefight involved", McLean said, explaining that crews gave up on attacking the flames and instead helped people evacuate. Authorities said investigators believed the driver became disoriented and the vehicle was overcome by fire.

Two people were arrested in looting incidents Friday during the evacuations, according to Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Eric Buschow.

"Stay safe, California - and keep those prayers coming America", Wilson said on his Twitter account, where over the weekend he was sharing photos of some of the more than 100 people missing in the huge wildfire in Northern California that has killed at least 23. The Hill Fire near Thousand Oaks scorched 10,000 acres, and there were no injuries or structure damages reported as of Thursday night, USA Today reported.

Spot fires continued to occur late Sunday afternoon near the Malibu campus of Pepperdine University, where 3,500 students were sheltering in place.

A shortwave infrared (SWIR) satelite image of the Camp Fire in Magalia, Paradise, California, on Friday. Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said some firefighters were "literally pulling people out of burning homes". Fire engines were not able to reach the fire, and firefighters were forced to hike in on foot and hose down vulnerable areas, while a firefighting helicopter hovered overhead.

But fire officials say fire behaviour has changed statewide after years of drought and record summer heat that have left vegetation extremely crisp and dry.

Death toll in Northern California wildfire rises to 23