Camp Fire death toll increases to 81; Survivors living in tents being moved to safer shelter

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
November 20, 2018, 11:07:55 PM EST

More than a week after first igniting in Butte County, California, the news surrounding the most destructive and deadly wildfire in California history remains grim.

The death toll from the Camp Fire increased to 81 on Tuesday, as investigators continued to scour the charred wreckage of the community of Paradise and the surrounding area. Many people had only minutes to flee the explosive blaze when it ignited in early morning hours of Nov. 8. The community was said to be "wiped out" by the fire.

Officials said the number of people missing is around 1,000. This number is down from previous reports which listed 1,300 missing persons in the wake of the blaze.

(AP Photo/John Locher)

People sit by their tents at a makeshift encampment outside a Walmart store for people displaced by the Camp Fire, on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Chico, California.

Sudhin Thanawala/AP

Volunteer members of an El Dorado County search and rescue team search the ruins of a home, looking for human remains, in Paradise, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, following a Northern California wildfire.

John Locher/AP

Dakota Keltner, right, rests on Havyn Cargill-Morris in a truck at a makeshift encampment outside a Walmart store for people displaced by the Camp Fire, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Chico, Calif. The two, from Magalia, Calif., escaped the fire with their families.

(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

A vehicle drives through smoke from a wildfire near Pulga, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/John Locher)

Officials stand over human remains at a burned out home destroyed by the Camp Fire, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Paradise, Calif.

(AP Photo/John Locher)

A bag containing human remains lies on the ground as officials continue to search at a burned out home at the Camp Fire, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Paradise, Calif.

(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

A vintage car rests among debris as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

(Photo/Jason Weinrich)

The sun being obscured by wildfire smoke.


Cars driving through flames as people evacuate from the Camp Fire.

(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

As the Camp Fire burns nearby, a scorched car rests by gas pumps near Pulga, Calif., on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Nicole Kowalczyke)

This photo provided by Nicole Kowalczyke shows a piece of a burned page that fell out of the sky in Chico, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, as the Camp Fire burns nearby.

(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

A home burns as the Camp Fire rages through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.


Smoke from the Camp Fire as seen from North Chico, California.

(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Flames consume a home as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. A California fire official says a fast-moving wildfire in Northern California has destroyed structures and injured civilians.

(Twitter Photo/@CAL_FIRE)

(Photo/Berkeley Firefighters)

(Photo/Berkeley Firefighters)

(Twitter Photo/@JasonHalley_CSU)

(Twitter Photo/@CAL_FIRE)

(Twitter Photo/@JasonHalley_CSU)

(Twitter Photo/@Harrisonfresh)

(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Flames burn inside a van as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Flames consume a car dealership as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a press conference that he believes the large number of missing or unaccounted for persons is because people who evacuated quickly during the early stages of the fire, and are currently safe, may not be aware that they are considered missing. He said officials are making the list of missing people public so people can see if their name is on it and can call authorities to tell them them are safe.

"It's really important for you to take a look at the list and call us if you're on the list," Honea was quoted by the Associated Press.

Firefighters continue structure preparation and defense in areas threatened by the Camp Fire, according to the Cal Fire situation summary.

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The blaze has currently charred 152,000 acres and is 75 percent contained.

President Trump toured the area around the Camp Fire, as well as the Woolsey Fire in Southern California on Saturday. The President pledged full support of the federal government.

CA Fire update Nov 18

Welcome relief in the form of rain is expected to arrive in California later this week, but new dangers may arise.

Due to the prospect of heavy rain, officials are urging those living in tents at the Walmart parking lot in Chico to relocate to a shelter at the county's fairgrounds.

"People staying in the parking lot are not being forced to leave, however, rain is currently in the weather forecast for the area in the next several days, and Butte County and the City of Chico want to ensure that all evacuees displaced by the Camp Fire have a safe, dry, and clean place to stay," according to a press release by Butte County officials.

The County is providing transportation to the shelter this weekend.

Air quality concerns persisted throughout Northern California as firefighters continued to combat the blaze.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health changed its air quality status to purple, or "very unhealthy", on Friday.

The air quality status was listed as red, or "unhealthy", over the weekend. At such levels, sensitive residents should avoid all physical activity outdoors while other residents should limit prolonged activities or heavy exertion outside.

Because the vehicles are not full enclosed, San Francisco's famed cable cars were pulled off the streets through this weekend.

camp fire air quality san francisco

The skyline is obscured by smoke and haze from wildfires as a tour boat makes its way along the waterfront Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Mills College in the Bay Area has already announced that classes will remain suspended on Monday due to poor air quality, KGO-TV reported.

The college football game between Cal and Stanford has been rescheduled to Dec. 1 because of the air quality. The rivalry game between the two schools, known as the "Big Game" was slated to be played on Saturday afternoon at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.

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