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California wildfires: Number of missing leaps to 631

The number of people missing in northern California's devastating wildfire has leapt to more than 600, and seven more bodies have been found, according to local authorities.

The missing persons' list has doubled since earlier on Thursday.

The Camp Fire, the state's deadliest and most destructive blaze, has killed at least 63 people. Nearly 12,000 buildings have been destroyed.

Three more people have also died in the Woolsey Fire, further south.

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About 9,400 firefighters are currently battling wildfires across the state.

The Camp Fire - which broke out eight days ago - swept through a swathe of the north at high speed, leaving residents little time to escape.

Why such a big jump in the missing? The official list more than doubled from 300 to 631 on Thursday.

At a news briefing, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said this was because investigators had thoroughly cross-checked their information, including emergency calls made since the Camp Fire started on 8 November.

"I want you to understand that the chaos we were dealing with was extraordinary," Mr Honea said.

He stressed that the number of the missing would most likely fluctuate.

"If you look at that list and see your name, or the name of a friend or loved one, please call to let us know," Mr Honea appealed to the public.

What's the latest on the firefighting operation? The California Fire Department says it has now contained about 40% of the Camp Fire blaze.

"We continue to engage in the fire fight. We continue to keep our eye on the ball," chief fire department official Ken Pimlott said.

Officials say they do not expect to fully contain the blaze - which has razed 145,000 acres (56,600 ha) - until the end of the month.

They are also battling several other fires. The Woolsey Fire in Ventura County near Los Angeles covers nearly 100,000 acres and is 62% contained.

The smaller Hill Fire, also in Ventura County, covers 4,530 acres and is 99% contained. The Morgan Fire in Contra Costa County, near San Francisco, covers 20 acres and is 60% contained.

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