BUTTE COUNTY (CBS13) — The latest on the North Complex West Zone/Bear Fire, an extension of the North Complex Fire that started the Plumas National Forest:

12:59 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is out touring some of the damage left by the North Complex Fire.

He didn’t hold back in blaming climate change for California’s historically massive wildfire season this year.

“This is a climate damn emergency,” Newsom said in remarks during his tour. “This is real and it’s happening. This is the perfect storm. It is happening unprecedented ways year in and year out.”

The governor also revealed he talked with Pres. Donald Trump on Thursday about the situation with California’s wildfires.

Newsom, while at the tour, also signed a bill into law that will help inmates who serve in California’s firefighter program become professional firefighters.

8:42 a.m.

More stable and cooler weather is helping in the fight against the North Complex West Zone fire.

Cal Fire’s latest numbers show that the part of the North Complex incident that was previously known as the Bear Fire had grown to 70,412 acres.

For the first time, however, firefighters also reported some containment of the flames. As of Friday morning, containment now stands at 5 percent for the West Zone and 23 percent overall for the North Complex incident.

While decreased winds and lower temperatures have allowed crews to get in and build containment lines, firefighters say heavy smoke has been hindering the ability to attack the flames from the air.

Work on extinguishing hot spots and strengthening fire lines is continuing on Friday, Cal Fire says.

Damage assessment teams from Cal Fire will also be in the area on Friday and for the next few days documenting the destruction.

Previous day’s updates below: 

10 p.m.

A 16-year-old boy who was reported missing after the North Complex West Zone Fire tore through Berry Creek is dead, family confirms. Josiah William’s mom, Jessica Williams, said that DNA found confirmed her son was dead.

READ MORE: 16-Year-Old Josiah Williams Killed In North Complex West Zone Fire, Family Confirms

6:38 p.m. 

Officials reported seven more fatalities in the North Complex West Zone Fire, bringing the total number of deaths to 10. According to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, 16 people remain unaccounted for out of the 124 people reported missing.

The fire has destroyed or damaged at least 2,000 structures so far. Damage assessment teams are planning to complete a more comprehensive survey of the damage Friday.

Cal Fire says more than 65,295 acres and is 0% contained.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office has reduced the evacuation order for the area of Foothill Blvd. to Oakvale Ave. to an evacuation warning. Everything east of Oakvale Ave. remains under an evacuation order.

12:55 p.m.

Several post offices in the area are closed due to wildfires.

The following is a breakdown of which USPS offices are closed at the moment, and where people should go to get their mail.

Clipper Mills Post Office, 12225 LaPorte Road, Clipper Mills, CA 95930
Challenge Post Office, 18040 Oregon Hill Road, Challenge, CA 95925
Forbestown Post Office, 19173 New York Flat Road, Forbestown, CA 95941
Berry Creek Post Office, 5 Whispering Chapel Lane, Berry Creek, CA 95916
Brownsville Post Office, 8975 Frenchtown Ext, Brownsville, CA 95919
Oroville Post Office, 1735 Robinson Street, Oroville, CA 95965
Rackerby Post Office, 7417 LaPorte Road, Rackerby, CA 95972

Yuba City Post Office, 761 Plumas Street, Yuba City, CA 95991. Hours: 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday; Saturday 9:30 am to 1 pm. Customers must provide identification to get their mail.

10:30 a.m.

Cal Fire has given a new name to the wildfire that has now destroyed or damaged thousands of structures.

The Bear Fire will now be called the North Complex West Zone by authorities, Cal Fire announced Thursday morning.

It’s unclear why the name was changed, but the new designation reflects how the wildfire is part of the larger North Complex Fire that had been burning for nearly a month before exploding this week.

Cal Fire also listed a total of 2,000 structures being destroyed or damaged as of Thursday morning. It’s unclear how many of those structures were homes at this point. Another 22,356 structures remain threatened.

As of Thursday, the North Complex West Zone/Bear Fire has grown to 70,250 acres. Containment still stands at 0 percent.

7:57 a.m.

Authorities in Butte County Thursday were looking for at least 12 people missing in the Bear Fire after three people were found dead in connection with the fire Wednesday.

One mother, Jessica Williams, reported her 16-year-old son Josiah missing. He was last seen in Berry Creek and, as of Thursday morning, she says she still hasn’t been able to contact him.

READ MORE: Mother Searching For 16-Year-Old Son After Bear Fire Wipes Out Berry Creek Community

Some 20,000 people are under evacuation orders in the area due to the Bear Fire, which is part of the North Complex fires in Butte, Plumas and Yuba counties

After a seriously burst of wind storms, the fire exploded over the past few days after burning for about three weeks. Hundreds of homes and other structures have either been damage or destroyed. As of Thursday morning, the North Complex fires had burned 252,163 acres, or nearly 400 square miles, with containment at 24 percent – down from a high of 51 percent it was before these new starts.

Parts of the communities of Paradise and Concow, which were devastated by the 2018 Camp Fire, are once again being threatened by the Bear Fire.

The U.S. Forest Service says winds were predicted to shift Thursday to the southwest, which could produce increased fire behavior and smoke.

Comments (6)
  1. When you read of people injured/killed, spare a thought for the millions of wildlife, birds, injured, in pain, dying, due to the hubris, ignorance, and greed of (1) the Forestry Service that refused to cull the forests around Paradise even after the Camp fire (2) those who decided to let the small Bear creek fire SMOLDER for weeks until the winds cam (3) the CA govt and EPA that REFUSE TO FUND FORESTRY MGMT instead, waste millions of useless conferences promoting “climate change”. Climates change for millenia, forests need daily pruning. Until someone hangs for this it won’t be Enough.

    1. #Savethebirds says:

      I’m concerned about the birds too. Maybe we could fund some new conservation department that could teach them to fly away from the fire, and thus they could save themselves.

      Since California has only been a state for 170 years, but the forest has been there for thousands of years maybe we should see what they used to 170 years ago to manage the forests? Of course I’m sure there is no connection between:
      everything being shut down due to the pandemic
      record numbers of people heading into the forests to go camping
      record numbers of fires in the state
      and record heat waves
      Lets all side with religionofcannibals and hang someone so this will be enough

  2. And quite frankly, idiotic gender reveal parties or not, you choose to live in a place where ageold forest mgmt has been banned for decades (yes, the natives knew what to do, hijacked and corrupted climate change science does not) that’s YOUR RISK, YOUR EXPOSURE, nature will cull YOU. The innocent animals, that’s YOUR karma.

  3. Michaela Onset says:

    Newsome should become better informed on these fires before he spouts his Ignorance about climate change. The lack of proper forest management along with over-development of certain areas has FAR more to do with it than the impact of warmer temperatures.

  4. Joe says:

    Newsome is an idiot, why is he even the governor. – he’s no leader, not a visionary, just someone receiving a hefty paycheck. He should have prepared for this 5 years ago. Maybe California should cut his salary of $210,000 a year to $100,000.

  5. Joe Groomer says:

    170 million years ago man began using fire and understood that it needed one thing to exist…FUEL! Unfortunately, the systemic Dem shut down of proper lumber harvesting, grazing or proper clearing has made CA a tinder box. Maybe in another 170 years Dems will get this concept. YOUR IGNORANCE IS PALPABLE

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