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Fire recovery continues across California, as new fire blazes east of LA

Fifty miles east of Los Angeles, a brush fire has quickly grown into a wall of fast-moving flames. The new “Sierra Fire” is spreading south from the edge of the Angeles National Forest, though firefighters say they’re making gains against the blaze. Meanwhile, 100 more National Guard troops arrived in Northern California to search for people missing after the Camp Fire and help identify victims.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In California, the death toll from wildfires climbed to at least 50.

    In the north, Butte County officials released the names of about 100 people who remain missing. The U.S. secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke, toured the area around the so-called Camp Fire with FEMA Administrator Brock Long and California Governor Jerry Brown.

    Meanwhile, in the south, a new fire flared up east of Los Angeles.

    William Brangham brings us up to date.

  • William Brangham:

    It began as a brushfire overnight, and quickly grew into a wall of fast-moving flames bearing down on a city of 200,000 people. Fifty miles east of Los Angeles, the new Sierra Fire is spreading south from the edge of the Angeles National Forest and into the city of Fontana,.

    Firefighters say they're making gains against the flames, whipped up by what they described as relentless Santa Ana winds.

  • Rick Carhart:

    Simply, the vegetation is as dry as it's ever been recorded before. The issue that we are running into is pretty much every single ember that flies away from the fire and hits the ground catches on fire.

  • William Brangham:

    The Sierra Fire is just the latest in a string of deadly fires to strike the state from north to south in the past week. In Northern California, residents of the city of Paradise are still reeling from the Camp Fire that tore through the city six days ago.

    It's now the deadliest fire in California's history. One hundred additional National Guard troops arrived in the region today to search for some 90 people still missing, and to help identify victims.

    Greg Gibson barely evacuated his house last week. He's now searching a list of missing persons at a nearby shelter, looking for his neighbors.

  • Greg Gibson:

    They were on the TV as missing people, so I thought I would see if their family has remedied that, I was hoping. And then also a friend of mine from the gym, I haven't been able to get in touch with him. His phone's out.

    It happened so fast, I think that they would have been in serious trouble.

  • William Brangham:

    Denise Gunderson evacuated her home as well. Ever since, she's been volunteering at an area shelter for 10 to 12 hours a day.

  • Denise Gunderson:

    We walked in and said, we're nurses. How can we help? And they just almost started crying. Immediately, 10 of the people I saw had been my past patients on surgical unit. So, I mean, I know these people.

  • William Brangham:

    Many of the people Gunderson's been caring for are seniors. More and more retirees moved to Paradise in recent years to live among the Sierra Nevada's beautiful foothills. But their lives are now forever changed by the fire.

  • Patty Saunders:

    Everywhere we went there was fire, all around, top, all sides, in front, and we kept stopping.

  • Howard Taylor:

    It's just almost too much to take. It really is a strain on you. So now I have to reinvent myself all over again, and start all over again and create a new life, basically.

  • William Brangham:

    In Southern California, firefighters are making progress on two fires, the largest being the Woolsey Fire, which is burning 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

    The fires have taken their toll, physical and emotional, here as well. In the hills of the beachside community of Malibu, Charley Pollard lost his home.

  • Charley Pollard:

    It's been a roller coaster. If you think about it too much, I think the thing that gets us the most is just the outpouring of support we have got from all of our friends, and people we haven't seen in years have reached out. It's like, anything we can do, or help. And that's been unbelievable.

  • William Brangham:

    The fire cut off all road access to Malibu, so now boat crews are delivering supplies to stranded residents who didn't evacuate.

  • Robert Baldwin:

    It's lot of boats coming in, bringing supplies, gas, baby wipes, horse pellets, everything that you could possibly need.

  • William Brangham:

    People here as well are searching the debris of the charred city for victims, with many people still missing or unaccounted for.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm William Brangham.

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