By Shirin Rajaee

OROVILLE (CBS13) – The Camp Fire burning in Butte County has now taken the lives of 42 people – making it the deadliest fire in California history.

As the death toll climbs, investigators face the grim task of finding human remains. Thirteen more remains were found Monday, 10 from Paradise and 3 in Concow. And there are at least 228 people still missing.

A community meeting was held in Oroville Monday with questions and concerns from the public as to what’s next.

“We’re gonna get through this together and we are gonna rebuild our communities,” said Assemblyman James Gallagher.

The Butte County Sheriff did not give an exact day for when folks can return to see their properties. He says the focus right now is on getting the fire under control, finding the missing, and once the area is deemed safe, then he’ll let people back in.

“We are actually going to increase the resources dedicated to that mission,” said Sheriff Korey Honea. “We’re going to do that by requesting 150 search and rescue personnel that will start arriving tomorrow.”

More than 5,000 firefighters and law enforcement officers continue to battle the fire, which, as of Monday night was 117,000 acres and 30 percent contained.

Four days have passed since the raging Camp Fire first ripped through neighborhoods, destroying more than 6,000 homes. On Monday, coroner search teams looked for human remains throughout the burned-out area of Paradise.

At the evacuation center in Oroville, Linda McCally is worried about her brothers.

“He’s an amputee, but a tough little brother. I just want to tell them I love them and that I’m OK,” said McCally.

Sheriff Honea says they’ve received more than 1,500 calls for welfare checks on missing loved ones, and thankfully, they’ve made some progress.

“So we have essentially been able to locate 231 people to date, which is up from 107 last night,” he said.

But questions and concerns remain high.

“When are we gonna get back, find out what’s next?” asked one evacuee at the meeting.

President Trump granted a Federal Emergency Declaration for Butte County, which has provided some relief for folks, but it’s the search for the missing that’s the most heart-wrenching.

“If you’re missing anyone, have hope, have hope they’re OK,” said evacuee Raymond Swoorde.

An additional 150 search and rescue personnel will arrive Tuesday, along with cadaver dogs. People are encouraged to register with FEMA to start getting help with temporary housing.

 

Shirin Rajaee

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