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Camp Fire death toll surpasses Loma Prieta earthquake

Nearly 1,000 still missing

Trump Visits California Wildfires
State and federal officials visit the fire area.
Photo by Paul Kitagaki Jr.-Pool/Getty Images

Cal Fire reports that as of late Sunday the official death toll for the still-ongoing Camp Fire in Northern California rose to 77. That makes the fire, which started on November 8, one of the worst natural disasters in state history, and the most deadly in nearly 30 years.

As the San Francisco Chronicle points out, the death count has now surpassed that of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which killed 69 people in the Bay Area.

Camp Fire casualties will most likely continue to mount. Outlets like the Sacramento Bee report that the Butte County Sheriff’s Office still lists nearly 1,000 people as missing—down from nearly 1,300 a few days ago—although the document linked on the Butte County site lists 630.

In any case, Cal Fire’s most recent incident report on the fire notes that, “Urban Search and Rescue task forces and human remains detection canine search teams have arrived to assist [...] with recovery of victims” in the area.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of any of these people should call the missing person call center at 530-538-6570, 530-538-7544, or 530-538-7671.

California Town Of Paradise Devastated By The Camp Fire Continues Search And Recovery Efforts Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Inspections revealed over 10,600 homes destroyed in the Camp Fire. Updates to Cal Fire’s online structure viewer in recent days confirmed some of the worst predictions about the scale of the disaster; the overwhelming majority of homes inspected in the town of Paradise are tagged “destroyed,” with extensive losses in neighboring communities as well.

Some evacuees have begun returning home—those who still have homes—throughout Butte County as fire containment increases. And as of Monday morning, formerly full evacuation centers listed new vacancies.

The Camp Fire is currently the state’s fourth most deadly natural disaster, with the 1938 Los Angeles Flood in the number three spot and the 1933 Long Beach earthquake number two.

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake remains the state’s all-time worst disaster. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, more than 3,000 people died in the quake and resulting fire, although historians debate the precise figure; at the time, the U.S. Army counted fewer than 700 dead.