The toll from California’s deadliest wildfire continued to grow Tuesday, as authorities said six more victims of the Camp Fire had been recovered inside homes in the Butte County town of Paradise, bringing the total to 48 so far.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea did not release additional identities of the dead or update the number of people believed to be missing. To date, the sheriff has released the names of only three victims as officials continue the laborious task of collecting remains and preparing for DNA testing to discover the identities of some victims.
Hundreds of people have been called in as missing since the fire erupted Thursday, and Honea said he planned to release publicly a list of all people authorities have been asked to search for in hopes that area residents will check to see if they have mistakenly been reported missing by loved ones.
“If your name is on the list, it means that someone is looking for you,” the sheriff said. “Let us know that you’re okay, so that we can stop our search for you and start looking for someone else.”
The Camp Fire also is the most destructive in California history, and the damage figures continue to mount. Authorities said 8,817 structures have been destroyed, including 7,600 homes.
The fire, which has forced the evacuation of 52,000 people and forced 1,385 into shelters, has burned 130,000 acres — more than 203 square miles — and is 35 percent contained. But officials are hopeful that improving weather — and the possibility of rain in the next week — will help improve containment.
Butte County authorities say they have received 208 calls regarding suspicious persons, including 18 reported to be looting incidents, and by late Tuesday they had arrested six people on various charges related to suspected looting.
“We’re going to take you to jail if we find you are violating the law,” Honea warned.