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More bodies found after California wildfires as cadaver dogs help search for victims


More bodies have been found in the ruins left by the California wildfires, bringing the state-wide death toll to 59.

Officials say 130 people are still unaccounted for as they ramp up the search to find more victims.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said 461 search and rescue personnel and 22 cadaver dogs were involved in the effort to locate those missing and DNA testing was being expedited to identify the victims.

“Beginning Thursday, anyone who believes a family member perished can provide a DNA sample” to the sheriff’s office, Honea said.

The blaze has destroyed nearly 9,000 homes in Northern California – the worst affected region.

More than 5,000 firefighters are battling the fire which is now 35% contained, officials said.

The fire started last Thursday, and in one week has displaced 52,000 people and reduced the town of Paradise to ash.

A further 1,385 people are in shelters after their homes were destroyed.

Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said Paradise was looking at a “total rebuild” with many homes, businesses and infrastructure destroyed.

“This is going to be a very long and frustrating event for the citizens of Paradise,” Mr Long said.

“We’re going to have to find a new normal.

“You’re not going to be able to rebuild Paradise the way it was.”

The picture is better in Southern California, where the fire is 52% contained.

The Woolsey fire that spread destruction from Thousands Oaks to Malibu, west of Los Angeles burned down 504 homes and other buildings.

Officials say there has been an outbreak of norovirus at a shelter housing people who evacuated their homes to escape the massive wildfire in the state’s north.

Butte County public health spokeswoman Lisa Almaguer said that lab tests confirmed the virus and those who were sick have been quarantined at the shelter in Chico, but in an area separate from healthy evacuees.

She said she did not know how many people had contracted the virus.

Staff mopped floors with bleach Wednesday at the Neighbourhood Church in Chico, where a large room has been converted into a makeshift medical care centre.

Norovirus is highly contagious and can cause diarrhoea, fever and body aches.

It spreads commonly when people are in close quarters.

(c) Sky News 2018: More bodies found after California wildfires as cadaver dogs help search for victims