By Terray Sylvester and Steve Holland
PARADISE, Calif. (Reuters) – The number of people missing after California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire jumped on Saturday to 1,276, despite authorities locating hundreds of people who scattered when the Camp Fire tore through the mountain town of Paradise.
Forensic recovery teams sifting through the charred wreckage recovered the remains of five more victims, bringing the death toll to at least 76, authorities said. Sixty-three of them have been tentatively identified, pending DNA confirmation.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said much of the increase in the number of missing was due to his office’s efforts to comb through a backlog of emergency calls that came in during the first hours of the fire on Nov. 8.
He said officials were sifting through the list of missing persons for duplications and people who fled. Some 380 people had been located and taken off the list since Friday, he said.