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The Latest: Mudslides now a risk for Southern California

November 15, 2018

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

11 a.m.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is warning that Southern California mudslides are a risk in the vast area charred by a week-old wildfire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Zinke says federal officials will work with state and local authorities to try to reduce the risk.

He spoke while touring the burn zone of the so called Woolsey Fire that prompted the evacuations of more than 200,000 people, including the entire seaside community of Malibu.

Zinke appeared with California Gov. Jerry Brown, who said he was told by President Donald Trump that the state will get federal support to handle costs associated with the fire.

Zinke also says officials will play close attention to toxic sites that burned to make sure hazardous materials don’t get into the watershed.

The fire is 57 percent contained after scorching more than 153 square miles (396 square kilometers).

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection chief Ken Pimlott says heavy winds that fan fires are easing but that extremely dry conditions are persisting.

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10:10 a.m.

Classes have been canceled for tens of thousands Northern California university students as smoke from a deadly wildfire continues to drift south, choking the air in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Air quality officials said Thursday the region will experience some of the worst air quality in the eight days since the fire about 90 miles (130 kilometers) north of Sacramento started last week, destroying the town of Paradise.

The wildfire has charred nearly 220-square-mile (570-square-kilometer) since Nov. 8 and is 40 percent contained.

Officials from six Northern California universities say classes are canceled Thursday. Some of the colleges are closing all of their buildings. Cal Estate East Bay says its libraries, health centers and dining halls will remaineopen.

Bay Area Air District executive officer Jack Broadbent says in a statement that smoke from the fire continues to blanket all nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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7:55 a.m.

Southern California firefighters are battling a new wildfire but there is much less wind than the region experienced over the past week.

The fire burning Thursday near the Ventura County city of Santa Paula is northwest of the huge area scorched by the so-called Woolsey Fire that started last week.

The new blaze is estimated at between 75 and 100 acres (30 and 40 hectares). Although winds are greatly reduced, conditions remain very dry.

In the Woolsey Fire area that affected many suburbs of Los Angeles, some evacuation orders remain in effect but many areas have been repopulated.

The fire area is now measured at more than 153 square miles (396 square kilometers) and estimates of destroyed structures top 500.

Authorities continue to investigate a body found Wednesday in a completely burned home. Two other people were found dead in a burned-out car earlier during the fire.

A firefighter assigned to the Woolsey Fire was struck by a private vehicle early Thursday and hospitalized with injuries that are not life-threatening.

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7:45 a.m.

Cool weather is helping fire crews increase their containment of the Northern California deadly blaze that razed a town and killed at least 56 people.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Thursday the wildfire that destroyed the town of Paradise is now 40 percent contained, up from 30 percent Wednesday morning.

The blaze has charred nearly 220 square miles (570 square kilometers) since it started Nov. 8 in hills east of Paradise, swept through the town and neighboring communities.

Butte County Sheriff’s Kory Honea told reporters Wednesday night that 130 people are on a missing list.

More than 450 people had now been assigned to comb through charred debris in the search for human remains.

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12 a.m.

Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise.

More than 450 people have been assigned to comb through charred remains in search of the 130 people who are still unaccounted for.

Already, at least 56 people have been confirmed dead.

A week after the fire struck, police teams drive around Magalia searching for those still in their homes, checking if they need any food and water.

With the death toll at 56, it is the deadliest wildfire in a century. There were also three fatalities from separate blazes in Southern California.

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