California North Bay firestorm toll rises to 24: TV report

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from the wildfires in the North Bay firestorms in western California has risen to 24 after Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano confirmed the 14th person killed in the raging wildfires in the county.

Giordano told a press conference that "the new number of deaths" is 14 in Somona County and that the sheriff has received a total of 900 missing people reports by Thursday morning.

He admitted that "the number has been confusing over time, and the reason is that there were duplicates in the missing people report lists."

He said 463 people are currently missing as 437 others included in the list of 900 missing people report were found safe, who lost contact with their loved ones due to communication problems.

"We are moving into recovery phase," Giordano said.

Local TV reports said progress has been made in the containment of the firestorm in the North Bay.

The reports quoted Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California State Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as saying on Thursday that the blaze burning in Sonoma County is 10 percent contained.

But he warned that potential gusty winds forecast to hit the area later in the day could hamper firefighting efforts.

The statewide wildfires have destroyed 3,500 homes and businesses and charred more than 170,000 acres of land.

[ Editor: meng ]
 

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