With the help of steady rain, firefighters have almost contained the devastating Camp Fire blaze that's killed 84 and destroyed thousands of homes in Northern California, but responders are still searching for hundreds of missing people and struggling to identify remains amid muddy ash and falling trees.
Photo/Kathleen Ronayne, File After a brief delay to let a downpour pass, volunteers resume their search for human remains at a mobile home park in Paradise, Calif.
After burning for over two weeks, killing dozens and destroying thousands of homes, the Northern California fire has been fully contained authorities confirmed on Sunday.
While rain complicated the search, it also helped almost extinguish the blaze, said Josh Bischof, operations chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The fire has scorched 153,335 acres and destroyed 13,972 residences, 528 commecial buildings and 4,293 other buildings, according to Cal Fire.
On Sunday, searchers were still completing the meticulous task of combing through now-muddy ash and debris for signs of human remains.
Meanwhile, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that 249 people remained unaccounted for till Saturday, down from more than 1,000 days ago.
"All the vegetation has burned away, and that's a unsafe recipe for mudslides".
The 2in to 3in of rain that fell in recent days turned ash from the thousands of destroyed homes into slurry, complicating the work of finding bodies reduced to bone fragments. The Butte County Sheriff's Office warned residents to be aware of risks associated to the weather.
Many of those found were unaware they were on the missing list, officials said.
According to the latest incident update from California fire authorities, the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
About 1,100 residents were still under evacuation orders in Malibu and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, down from 250,000 at the height of the fire.
On Wednesday, the same system is expected to deliver a half inch to 2 inches to the Woolsey fire area in Southern California.