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Local utility crews headed to California to help with wildfire recovery

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CHICO, Calif. -- Crews from the Puget Sound region are headed down to California to help with wildfire recovery efforts.

A group of 16 people from Snohomish County Public Utilities District left Everett Sunday morning.

The utility says the team will be stationed in Chico and will be involved with everything from setting up new poles, stringing new wires and getting power restored to areas that were devastated by fires.

The local utility workers say conditions will be rough and different than what they're used to, but the "long days and short nights" are worth it to help a community in need.

The Camp Fire in northern California was 100 percent contained as of Sunday morning (Nov. 25) after two-and-a-half weeks of historic destruction.

The death toll stood at 85 Sunday morning, but that number is expected to rise as recovery efforts continue.

Since it began November 8, the fire has destroyed almost 14,000 homes, 514 businesses and 4,265 other buildings. It has covered more than 153,000 acres, roughly the size of Chicago.

More than 2,500 people are now accounted for, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office. While 249 people remain missing, the sheriff's office says, that number is down from more than 1,000 just a few days ago.

The sheriff's office is maintaining a public list of missing people and offering to swab the cheeks of immediate relatives in hopes of identifying those lost in the fire.

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