Miley Cyrus, Neil Young lose homes in Malibu wildfires


At least 29 people were confirmed dead in the wildfire that obliterated the Northern California town of Paradise, equaling the deadliest blaze in state history.

The most destructive of the fires was in northern California, where people died as flames reduced the town of Paradise, population 27,000, to a smoking ruin and continued to scorch surrounding communities.

Meanwhile, the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles killed two people and forced more than 275,000 people to leave their homes, bringing the total death toll in the state to 31. This grim statistic surpasses the 29 Los Angelenos killed by the Griffith Park Fire in 1933.

Glenn Simmons, 64, told AFP in the nearby town of Chico that he had been sleeping in his vehicle since Thursday, unable to find a space in a shelter.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said: "We are doing everything we possibly can to identify those remains and make contact with the next of kin so we can return the remains to the family".

Police say 228 people are unaccounted for in the Paradise area alone, although many may be in emergency shelters.

The Hemsworth brothers have joined the relief efforts for the California wild fires after Liam's own home was burned down.

Some of the thousands of people forced from their homes by the blaze were allowed to return, and authorities reopened USA 101, a major freeway through the fire zone in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

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Miley Cyrus and Neil Young are the latest celebrities to report losing their homes to deadly wildfires that have ravaged California. Actor James Wood, a rare political conservative in liberal Hollywood, has made new friends by using his Twitter account to help find missing people and getting help for pets, including horses.

One of the Northern California fire's victims was an ailing woman whose body was found in bed in a burned-out house in Concow, near Paradise. "I just don't know", said Hall, adding that the couple had only a landline and calls were not going through to it. The Hill Fire, which was 75% contained as of Monday morning, is one of more than 7,500 fires to have burned across California this year.

The fires have spread with an erratic intensity that has strained resources and kept firefighters struggling to keep up with the flames while catching many residents by surprise.

The state fire agency said Monday that the fire had grown to 303sq km and was 25 percent contained.

In southern California, firefighters beat back a new round of winds Sunday and the fire's growth was believed to have been largely stopped, though extremely low humidity and gusty Santa Ana winds were in the forecast through at least Tuesday.

Gov. Jerry Brown said California is requesting aid from the Trump administration.

Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames consume from the Camp Fire consume a home in Magalia. She said: "My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family and friends stand strong".

Eric Bartelink, co-director of Chico University's Human Identification Lab, said his team frequently conducts searches of fire scenes and for buried bodies, but rarely so close to home.