Ferocious winds whip California fires as death toll rises to 31

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It matched California's record for deaths in a single fire.

Most of the fatalities and missing come from the 200-year-old town of Paradise which was reduced to ash over the weekend.

More than 8,000 firefighters in all battled three large wildfires burning across almost 400 square miles in Northern and Southern California, with out-of-state crews arriving.

Many celebrities live in the area. Jerry Brown said at a press briefing. "It's a time to pull together and work through these tragedies".

"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor".

Rice also said California does not mismanage its forests, namely because 60 percent of the state's forests are federally-managed.

Drought, warmer weather attributed to climate change and home construction deeper into forests have led to more destructive wildfire seasons in California that have been starting earlier and lasting longer.

The fires that roared through Northern California in October 2017 claimed more than 40 lives and were followed by another set of devastating blazes further south.

At the southern end of the state, where the "Woolsey Fire" is threatening mansions and mobile homes alike in the coastal celebrity redoubt of Malibu, the death toll has been limited to two victims found in a vehicle on a private driveway.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby stressed there were numerous hotspots and plenty of fuel that had not yet burned.

Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West and Martin Sheen have all been forced to flee their Malibu homes, while Gerard Butler revealed on Sunday he too has had his house incinerated.

Flames also besieged Thousand Oaks, the Southern California city in mourning over the massacre of 12 people in a shooting rampage at a country music bar Wednesday night.

In Northern California, where more than 6,700 buildings have been destroyed, the scope of the devastation was beginning to set in even as the blaze raged on.

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Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the county consulted teams of anthropologists because, in some cases, investigators have been able to recover only bones and bone fragments.

Public safety officials toured the Paradise area to begin discussing the recovery process.

"Most of the residential [area] is gone".

But the tweet sparked fierce condemnation from the International Association of Fire Fighters.

The goddaughter of Dolly Parton's two-story contemporary home had four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and it was located just East of Paradise Cove. "Thank you firefighters for all you do".

Others continued the desperate search for friends or relatives, calling evacuation centers, hospitals, police and the coroner's office.

As he drove through the smoke and haze to yet another shelter, he said, "I'm also under a dark emotional cloud".

If you or someone you know lives in or near the affected areas, please stay updated with the latest news and evacuation procedures.

She said on Instagram, "Sadly my house couldn't be saved".

Already the most destructive wildfire in California history, the Camp Fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills has become the state's third deadliest - killing 23 people in three days, with more than 100 people unaccounted for in a charred swath of land larger than Detroit.

Crews pushed forward to achieve 25 per cent containment of the Camp Fire in northern California, which had burned 44,000 hectares at the edge of the Plumas National Forest, according to Cal Fire's website.

High, dry winds blowing from the desert regions are expected to sustain the conditions until at least Tuesday, with forecast meteorologist Marc Chenard stating that the short-term outlook was "nothing but bad news". Officials said they expect the wind to die down by midday Monday, but there was still no rain in sight.

"This weighs heavy on all of us", Honea said.

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