Nearly two weeks after the Golden State’s deadliest and most destructive fire began, 563 people are still unaccounted for, Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea said. Authorities started with a list of roughly 2,052 people and worked around the clock to identify the dead and account for survivors so they can focus on getting people back into their homes, he said.
Searchers in areas devastated by the deadliest wildfire in California found two more bodies Wednesday, bringing the number of known dead to 83, but the list of those believed to be unaccounted for dropped by several hundred, the sheriff said Wednesday.
The number of people missing or unaccounted for in Butte County was down to 536 on Wednesday evening, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.
As firefighters make progress in containing the fire and officials continue to account for residents, their concern will soon turn to mudslides that may result from the upcoming rain.
Almost 1 million people are under the flash flood watch in that part of California, where 4 to 6 inches of rain are expected to fall through Friday. Rain began in Paradise late Wednesday morning, dropping nearly an inch by late afternoon.
The potential downpours could put an end to the fire season or at least ease the fire risk while also bringing new dangers.