The number of names on the missing person’s list for Northern California’s Camp fire grew to 1,011 Friday night, nearly doubling the number reported Thursday, though fire officials warned that the list may include duplicate names.
Search-and-rescue officials also discovered eight more bodies in the Camp fire’s aftermath, bringing the death total to 71. Three bodies have been recovered in the Woosley fire in Southern California, making the state’s death toll now 74.
“I want you to understand that this is a dynamic list. It will fluctuate both up and down every day,” Butte County Sheriff-Coroner Kory L. Honea said of the missing person’s list Friday night.
Paradise reeling: The death toll from the #CampFire rises to 71 and the number of people missing soars over 1000. The wildfire has scorched 146,000 acres, destroyed over 15,000 structures and is now 50% contained. The search for the missing continues. https://t.co/VOdZlYY6uJ pic.twitter.com/eNuUzk60Mz
— Marcus Yam 火 (@yamphoto) November 17, 2018
Honea said the number of people grew significantly Friday because law enforcement now has more resources to address missing person reports, including a newly established call center and more time to review reports that were emailed to law enforcement.
Honea also noted that the list may include misspelled names and names of people who are not actually missing.
“In the initial hours of this extraordinarily chaotic event, as people were calling in, talking about people that they couldn’t find … that information was being entered in as rapidly as possible by public safety dispatchers,” he said.
The Camp fire is considered the most deadly and destructive wildfire in the state of California. Investigators continue to scour the town of Paradise and the surrounding areas, searching for additional remains and assessing the damage.
I keep thinking about a conversation I had with a veteran firefighter about the fatalities on the #CampFire. So many people assumed it wouldn't be as bad as it was and refused to evacuate. When he got back to their homes, they were on fire.
— Lizzie Johnson (@lizziejohnsonnn) November 17, 2018
Honea defended the Butte County Sheriff Department’s decision to release the “raw data” on the missing persons.
“I can’t let perfection get in the way of progress,” Honea told reporters. “It’s important for us to get the information out so that we can get started on identifying these unaccounted individuals.”
Since last week, the Camp fire has spread to an estimated 146,000 acres, devastating the town of Paradise and forcing 52,000 people to flee their homes. Officials said the blaze was 50 percent contained by Friday.
The Woolsey fire in Southern California has burned more than 98,000 acres, forcing thousands to evacuate Malibu and surrounding areas. As of Friday, the Woolsey fire was 67 percent contained.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit California to meet with people impacted by the fires and assess the damage on Saturday. The White House has not released details on which locations Trump will visit.
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