Staggering Number of Missing in Camp Fire Raises Startling Question: Could Wildfire Really Have Killed 1,000 People?


They were as young as 8. As old as 101. At its height Sunday, the list stretched on for 26 pages, offering a staggering 1,202 names.

Most were linked to towns where they may have lived, only about a third had ages. It appeared to include whole families. Seven people from Paradise with the same last name, the oldest 72. A couple in their 80s, another in their 60s and possibly their mother.

Mourners greet one another during a vigil in Chico for the victims who perished in the Camp fire at First Christian Church of Chico on Nov. 18, 2018. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Mourners greet one another during a vigil in Chico for the victims who perished in the Camp fire at First Christian Church of Chico on Nov. 18, 2018. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The list is a culmination of all the people who were reported missing — and remain unaccounted for — since the devastating Camp fire erupted in Butte County in the early hours of Nov. 8, consuming entire neighborhoods in just hours. That number dropped Sunday for the first time in days, from 1,202 to 993. But it raises a startling question: Could that many people really have died in the blaze?

Authorities say probably not.

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