Residents of California town Paradise razed by wildfire can go home

Residents of California town Paradise razed by wildfire can go home

Five large wildfires over the past 14 months, with November's Camp fire the most devastating, have destroyed almost 21,000 homes across six counties.

A Northern California sheriff says there are only 10 names remaining on the list of people unaccounted for after a deadly wildfire.

The devastation from the fires will be felt in the state's housing market, state officials, academics and other experts said.

The Camp Fire swept through the area about 140 miles northeast of San Francisco on November 8.

Some residents were allowed to return to parts of Paradise for the first time Wednesday. The city, which is home to 27,000 people, was completely destroyed by fire.

"I lost my kid's handprints and footprints from when he was born", she said.

Rebecca Rogers of Chico came to support Christensen, a friend, as she sifted through the remains of her belongings.

She didn't want Christensen to see it, feeling it would be too much for her after all she had been through.

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Northern California's recent wildfires have burned homes at a greater pace than developers are building them, deepening a housing shortage that already has left millions struggling to find affordable places to live.

McLean said returning after her harrowing escape during the fire had made her nervous and emotional, but she hoped she could at least recover the flag.

Some residents are being allowed to return almost a month after the blaze swept through the area, killing at least 85 people and destroying about 14,000 homes.

Some residents of a Northern California town devastated by a catastrophic wildfire almost a month ago were finally allowed to return home Wednesday to sift through the charred remains in search of precious family heirlooms, photos and other possessions that may have survived.

Access to the neighborhoods was limited to residents on Wednesday, but they will be open to anyone on Thursday.

Evacuation orders were being lifted for all neighborhoods in the eastern side of the town of Paradise, where the fire that started November 8 destroyed about 14,000 homes and killed at least 85 people, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

More than 50,000 people in Paradise and the neighbouring communities of Magalia and Concow were forced to quickly flee the towering, wind-driven flames that charred an area about the size of Chicago - 240 square miles (622 square kilometres) - and became the deadliest USA wildfire in at least a century.

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