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Camp Fire reaches 40 percent containment; 56 people confirmed dead

by Chico Enterprise-Record staff reports |

CHICO, Calif. – One week after the Camp Fire started in Northern California, firefighters continue to gain control of the blaze and better quantify the staggering toll. The number of deaths and structures burned climbs every day.

As of Thursday morning, 56 people have died and 297 people are unaccounted for. Forty-seven of the victims have been tentatively identified but confirmation by DNA on the burned bodies is needed.

The number of victims is updated each night after the difficult day of searching for remains in Paradise and Concow with workers and dogs trained to detect human remains.

The fire was last reported at 140,000 acres with 40 percent containment. Cal Fire expects full containment in two weeks. There's an enormous perimeter partially surrounding the fire. Active fire is expanding the perimeter on the eastern side, including near one of the suspected ignition points near Camp Creek Road off Highway 70 in Pulga.

With 8,650 residences and 260 commercial buildings destroyed, the Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive in terms of structures burned in state history, by far.

Widespread evacuation orders are still in effect for more than 50,000 people in Paradise, Magalia, Butte Creek Canyon, Butte Valley, Concow and elsewhere.

Cal Fire says 5,473 people are fighting the fire. Federal Emergency Management Agency official arrived in Butte County on Wednesday to start the process of helping evacuees who have lost homes.