Camp Fire death toll rises as hundreds spend Thanksgiving in Walmart parking lot

Author: CBS News
Published: Updated:
FILE – Volunteer members of an El Dorado County search and rescue team scour the ruins of a Paradise, Calif., home looking for human remains in 2018. (AP Photo/Sudhin Thanawala/File)

Crews battling the devastating Camp Fire, which is now 95 percent contained, had some help Thursday from the rain. However, the weather is also hampering teams searching for remains of people in rubble as hundreds of evacuees are spending Thanksgiving in a Walmart parking lot.

Officials said more than 800 people are searching the rubble for human remains. Thursday night the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said the death toll increased by one, bringing the total to 84.

Officials also said the amount of missing people on their list has decreased to more than 560. Authorities need to make direct contact with a missing person before they can be removed from the list.

The Camp Fire decimated the town of Paradise, population 27,000, and surrounding communities. Officials expected people to be in shelters through the Christmas holiday, CBS News correspondent Meg Oliver reports.

The wildfire has destroyed more than 14,000 homes. “This is certainly one of the worst fires in California history, and it’s the most destruction I’ve ever seen in my career,” Cal Fire Operations Chief Josh Bischoff said.

Cal Fire said the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles County has been 100 percent contained as of Wednesday night.

California wildfires fast facts:

These are the current numbers as of Thursday evening from Cal Fire and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Camp Fire

  • Location: Butte County
  • 153,336 acres burned
  • 95 percent contained
  • 84 fatalities confirmed
  • 560 unaccounted for
  • 19,124 structures destroyed (14,378 residences, 514 commercial and 4,232 other buildings)

Woolsey Fire

  • Location: Los Angeles County, Ventura County
  • 96,949 acres burned
  • 100 percent contained
  • 3 fatalities confirmed
  • 1,643 structures destroyed, 364 damaged


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