The death toll in the Camp Fire in Northern California has risen to 23 with the discovery Saturday of 14 more sets of remains, Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea told reporters.
Honea said 10 of the victims were recovered from the fire-ravaged town of Paradise. He said seven people were found in homes, and three were outside. Of the remaining four, two were in cars and two were in houses in an area known as Concow.
Saturday brought a break in the fierce winds that have whipped the three major wildfires in California that have destroyed a record number of buildings and displaced more than 300,000 people.
But officials know the gusts will be back Sunday and most evacuation orders remain in place.
“Mother Nature has given us a short reprieve … but we know tomorrow Mother Nature’s gonna turn her fan back on and the winds are going to start blowing,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told reporters. He said he cautioned his firefighters and the public not to be lulled by the better weather Saturday.
“Stay vigilant,” he said.
Fire has killed nine people in Northern California and possibly two in Southern California. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Chief John Benedict said the charred remains of two people were found in a car in Malibu, but homicide investigators were still working the case.
Winds could gust as high as 30 to 50 mph, depending on elevation, on Sunday, officials said. Much of the state hasn’t seen rain in more than a month, according to CNN meteorologists, and the dry vegetation has only served to fuel the fires.