The Camp fire that decimated the town of Paradise is still not fully under control. The local authorities provided a stark reminder of this when they increased the numbers of dead and missing. On Friday, outlets were reporting 48 confirmed fatalities. By Saturday, that number jumped to 71.
— Steve Patterson (@PattersonNBC) November 17, 2018
The earlier numbers suggested there were 631 missing. Now that number has been increased to 1,011.
This is a massive increase from the previous numbers. Authorities in California had been suggesting that the number of missing was inflated.
Many, they’d noted, didn’t know they were on the roles of the missing and simply had had the opportunity to check in with the loved ones and relatives who’d reported them missing.
Now, though, the tone has changed. The increase in the numbers of missing is expected to foreshadow an even larger increase in fatalities.
In Paradise, more than 9,700 have been destroyed. An additional 2,700 buildings were burned. 26,000 are homeless.
The fire, which is only 50% contained, is proving to be a challenge for investigators. Forensic experts, national guard troops, and even anthropologists have joined law enforcement in their search for remains.
Many of those who perished in the fire were fleeing in cars. Others, it seems, took shelter in their homes.
Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea, though, remains optimistic that the number of missing will be reduced as the chaos of the evacuation subsides.
“I want you to understand,” Honea told reporters before the latest increase, “that there are a lot of people displaced, and we’re finding that a lot of people don’t know that we’re looking for them.”
Honea’s office has set up an official page for those missing to check in with their relatives. Others are using social media to help locate their friends and family.
Those in and around the burn area, where technology has broken down, are looking to a more old fashioned method. They’re posting flyers hoping anyone might be able to help.