The Latest: Wildfire insurance claims exceed $3.3 billion

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

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1:30 p.m.

California's insurance commissioner says property damage losses from a series of destructive wildfires earlier this month now exceed $3.3 billion.

Commissioner Dave Jones said Tuesday that the figure represents claims for homes and businesses insured by 15 major insurers.

The figure is significantly higher than Jones' previous preliminary estimate of $1 billion.

Forty-three people were killed in the series of October blazes that tore through Northern California.

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They destroyed at least 8,900 buildings as more than 100,000 people were forced to evacuate. It was the deadliest series of fires in California history.

Several dozen buildings were also damaged or destroyed in an Orange County fire.

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1 p.m.

A man suspected of starting a wildfire that destroyed two homes in Northern California is facing multiple arson charges.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that 54-year-old Marlon Coy pleaded not guilty on Tuesday during a hearing in which he had an ominous message for Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosell.

The newspaper says Coy looked at Rosell and muttered, "You're next," as the district attorney explained four of the felony charges Coy is facing.

Sheriff's officials say multiple witnesses saw Coy start the fire on October 16 near a property in Santa Cruz County connected to someone with whom he had a dispute.

The wildfire in Santa Cruz started as several blazes scorched tens of thousands of acres farther north, killing 43 people and destroying at least 8,900 buildings.

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Information from: Santa Cruz Sentinel, http://www.santacruzsentinel.com