The death toll in the Camp Fire unexpectedly dropped by three Monday as coroner’s officials in Sacramento corrected a mixup involving human remains.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the death toll has been revised downward to 85 as a result. He said a single set of human remains had been placed in multiple bags, which artificially inflated the death toll. The problem was corrected at the Sacramento County morgue, where victims are being identified.
Ten more victims of the fire have been identified and next of kin notified. Their names are:
▪ Helen Pace, 84, of Paradise
▪ Gary Hunter, 67, of Magalia
▪ Beverly Powers, 64, of Paradise
▪ Sheila Santos, 64, of Paradise
▪ Andrew Downer, 54, of Paradise
▪ Lou Herrera, 86, of Paradise
▪ T.K. Huff, 71, of Concow
▪ Gordon Dise, 66, of Chico
▪ James Garner, 63, of Magalia
▪ Robert Duvall, 76, of Paradise
The Camp Fire remains the deadliest wildfire in California history.
Honea added that the number of people still unaccounted for has declined to 11 — a huge drop from a number that once stood at well over 1,000. Hundreds of people who had been listed as missing have since turned up, safe and sound.
Honea said officials are still trying to track down those last 11 people.
He said 43 victims have been positively identified and 39 have been tentatively identified.
The sheriff said last week’s rainstorm, which caused some flooding in the area, has caused delays in allowing people back into the evacuation zones. Officials plan to allow evacuees back into portions of Concow within two days, and selected portions on the east side of Paradise later in the week. Portions of Magalia and Concow were reopened Sunday.
Honea and Paradise Police Chief Eric Reinbold said evacuation zones can’t be reopened until fallen trees and other hazards have been removed.
“We understand the urgency to return to your homes and your properties. The process is complex,” Reinbold said at a press briefing Monday.