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Hundreds of millions in damage estimated in California fire

California’s wildfire death toll is on the rise

The body is believed to belong to Robert Fletcher, 66, one of the two people reported missing to officials.

Gov. Jerry Brown requested a presidential disaster declaration on Monday, noting that more than 1,000 homes had been confirmed destroyed, with the number likely to go higher as assessment continues in Lake County, 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

Firefighters have largely curtailed those conflagrations, dubbed the Valley Fire and the Butte Fire, which rank as the most destructive among thousands of blazes that have raged across the drought-stricken western United States this summer.

Annette Lee, a 43-year-old executive dean of Yuba College in Lake County's Clearlake, said she is staying at her late grandfather's vacant home in Nice, on the northern edge of the county. They were Bruce Beven Burns, 65, Leonard Neft, 69, and Barbara McWilliams, 72.

Firefighter Jeff Ohs looks into a burned out vehiclethat was also hit by a tree at the Harbin Hot Springs resort in a wildfire several days earlier, Tuesday, September15, 2015, near Middletown, Calif. The clothing-optional resort, which was first developed in 1867 and destroyed by previous fires in 1894 and 1943, was torn through against by the fire Saturday. A couple needing help evacuating waited for deputies in a creek near their home.

Thousands of people fled their homes at the peak of the fire, and two men remain missing, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office yesterday.

Authorities said two people were killed by the 70,868-acre (28,679-hectare) Butte Fire raging in the historic Gold Rush country of the Sierra Nevada foothills about 115 miles (185 km) to the southeast.

The Valley Fire's chaotic spread forced firefighters to make quick decisions about which homes and neighborhoods were defensible, said Capt. Tony McHale, a Cal Fire representative. That fire has charred 300 square kilometers.

Authorities on Wednesday said a wildfire that started on Saturday in the Carmel Valley of Monterey County, 125 miles (200 km) south of San Francisco, was sparked by a person committing suicide.

Dispatch logs released Thursday showed the small department was strained to its limits by the massive fire that swept across the mountainous county.