The Latest: More Malibu evacuees allowed to return home

PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

1:50 p.m.

More residents in Southern California are going home after a deadly wildfire.

Crews worked Friday to repair power, telephone and gas utilities following the 151-square-mile (391-square-kilometer) Woolsey Fire west of Los Angeles.

About 1,100 residents are still under evacuation orders in Malibu and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, down from 250,000 at the height of the fire. Major roads were open but authorities urged the public to stay away.

Southern California Edison said power had been restored to nearly 39,000 customers, leaving about 2,600 without electricity.

The fire erupted Nov. 8 amid strong winds and burned through suburban communities and wilderness parklands to the ocean, leaving vast areas of blackened earth and many homes in ashes.

Three people were found dead. Officials say 1,643 structures, most of them homes, were destroyed.


1:35 p.m.

The first winter storm to hit Northern California has dropped 2 to 4 inches of rain over the area scorched by a wildfire that killed at least 84 people.

Craig Shoemaker of the National Weather Service says the rain has been steady, but forecasters expect the heaviest downpours in the leveled town of Paradise by Friday afternoon.

Shoemaker says the rain is expected to subside by midnight, followed by light showers Saturday.

The weather service issued a warning for possible flash flooding and debris flows from areas scarred by major fires in Northern California, including the fire in Paradise and surrounding communities.

Two days of rain have helped nearly extinguish the blaze that ignited Nov. 8 and scorched 240 square miles (620 square kilometers).


11:40 a.m.

High winds and heavy rains are temporarily halting the work of some teams searching for remains in the aftermath of a deadly Northern California wildfire.

Team leader Craig Covey said Friday that searchers in the town of Paradise and two nearby communities weren’t instructed to stop but he’s choosing to take a break for safety reasons.

He says rain and wind are knocking over trees, raising the risk they could fall on search personnel. Covey says they’ll resume looking for remains once the rain clears later Friday.

He and his team are finding other ways to help, including bringing lunch to those who stayed in their homes to fight the flames.

The Camp Fire has killed at least 84 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes since igniting Nov. 8.


7:55 a.m.

Officials in California say rain has helped nearly extinguish the nation’s deadliest wildfire in the past century.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Friday that the fire that’s destroyed the town of Paradise is 95 percent contained.

The agency says the massive blaze killed at least 84 people and destroyed nearly 19,000 buildings, most of them homes.

Officials say the Camp Fire has destroyed more buildings than the worst eight fires in California’s history combined, displacing thousands of people.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office says more than 800 people are searching the soaked rubble for human remains. It says 563 people are still unaccounted for.

Categories: California News