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Death toll from California fires rises to seven

Death toll from California fires rises to seven
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The death toll from wildfires burning across northern California rose to seven over the weekend, as officials have struggled to contain several blazes that have so far destroyed hundreds of buildings and homes.

The Associated Press reported Monday that the death toll from three fires totaled seven, citing officials from Cal Fire and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, with the latest death being a 70-year-old who was discovered in a remote community called Last Chance located in a strip of dense forest between Tahoe National Forest and Eldorado National Forest, northeast of Sacramento.

More than 1.2 million acres have burned so far this month, according to the AP, destroying around 1,200 structures. Around 14,000 firefighters are currently involved in efforts to contain the blazes.

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Around 250,000 people are now under evacuation orders, though officials said Monday that an end to the region's dry weather was providing some relief to firefighters and state officials who had recorded more than 13,000 lightning strikes across the state since mid-August.

"Mother Nature’s helped us quite a bit,” Billy See, an official with the state's Forestry Department, told the AP.

Officials added to the AP that firefighting efforts in Santa Cruz were being hindered by the presence of looters as well as many individuals who had simply ignored evacuation orders. The county's sheriff told the news service that anyone found violating the evacuation order without permission would be arrested.

“What we’re hearing from the community is that there’s a lot of looting going on,” he told the AP.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE approved a disaster declaration for the state on Saturday while he has publicly lashed out at state officials over poor forest management, which he has blamed for the fires.