NASA sees fires covering California in a shroud of smoke

After devastating loss of life and property here comes another hit from California wildfires

California's top utility regulator singled out PG&E Corp.'s board as an impediment to reform and isn't ruling out carving up the company as officials launch a deep corporate review in the wake of the state's deadliest wildfire.

At least 63 people are dead after the Camp Fire tore through the region.

Authorities attribute the death toll in part to the speed with which flames raced through the town of 27,000, driven by wind and fueled by desiccated scrub and trees.

More than 5,000 fire personnel were battling the blaze that started a week ago and has displaced 52,000 people. The fire left a ghostly expanse of empty lots covered in ash and strewn with debris.

"The chaos we were dealing with was extraordinary", says Butte County's sheriff as he explains the staggering number of missing.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said more names were added after combing through hundreds of emergency calls that have come in for missing people.

A total of 200 names have been cleared from the missing list, as they were eventually found safe.

Honea said investigators combined all the information they have received from callers since the day the fire erupted.

The sheriff also asked relatives of the missing to submit DNA samples to help with the identification process but he acknowledged some of those unaccounted for may never be conclusively found. The DNA will be used to help identify fire victims, Honea said.

Recently, a fire that destroyed a town in northern California led to fingers being pointed at PCG.

Scientists say two seasons of devastating wildfires in California are linked to drought they say is symptomatic of climate change. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

The White House said on November 15 that President Donald Trump, who has been criticized as having politicized the fires by casting blame on forest mismanagement, plans to visit the fire zones on November 17 to meet displaced residents.

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Cal Fire said 40 percent of the Camp Fire's perimeter is contained, up from 35 percent, even as the blaze footprint grew 2,000 acres to 141,000 acres (57,000 hectares).

Firefighters continued gaining ground against the 575-square-kilometre blaze, which was reported 45 per cent contained Friday.

The search area is wide and spread out.

Employees of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) work in the aftermath of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S., November 14, 2018. The number of people missing in the blazes exceeds 600.

Social media is filled with posts of those looking for missing friends and family members.

Evacuees milling in the parking lot faced morning temperatures that dropped to just above freezing and many wore breathing masks for protection from lingering smoke.

"I've watched a couple of drone videos and it still feels like I'm watching a movie, said 25 year old evacuee Kami Machado, who lived with her husband and toddler daughter in De Sabla, a community north of Magalia".

They recounted being stunned at how swiftly the fire roared through Paradise the first night.

"We can't continue to bail them out if they're negligent", said Hill, a Democrat.

Meanwhile, the financial toll of the fire was also coming into focus.

"It's been a week and people have been great, but I don't know how long it's going to last", Mayer said.

"I told my parents, 'if you need to steal a auto, to get out and be alive, just please steal a vehicle, get out and save your lives, '" said Machado tearfully, "and for 24 hours I didn't know and I feared the worst".

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