BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. — Two more victims of the North Complex West Zone fire have been identified.
During Wednesday night's Cal Fire press conference, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea identified the two individuals as 61-year-old Mark Delagardie and 64-year-old Kin Lee.
The total number of victims remains at 15, according to Honea.
According to Cal Fire officials, the North Complex Fire West Zone, what used to be known as the Bear Fire, is 77,671 acres and is 30% contained. The North Complex Fire overall is 273,335 acres and is 36% contained.
Officials said 635 homes were destroyed and 31 homes were damaged in the fire. Officials also said 299 commercial buildings were destroyed and 27 commercial buildings were damaged.
4:00 p.m. update:
Two more people have been arrested for entering an evacuation zone unlawfully, says Butte County Sheriff's Office.
Stephanie Neeley, 30, and Joseph Stanfield, 60, both of Palermo, were found by Shasta County Probation Officers inside the evacuated area of Feather Falls, Oroville.
The two had re-entered the area to tend to cannabis plants. Neeley was arrested for entering an evacuation zone unlawfully, while Stanfield was arrested for the same, as well as possession of drug paraphernalia and providing a fake name to officers.
3:00 p.m. update:
Cal Fire and Plumas National Forest will host their daily joint press conference at 6 p.m. on the Plumas National Forest Facebook page.
Questions and comments can be posted directly into the comments section of the Facebook post.
1:45 p.m. update:
Portions of Lake Oroville State Recreation Area remain closed as the the North Complex fire continues to threaten the area.
California State Parks, in unified command with Cal Fire, announced that access for boating and other day-use recreation will not be accommodated at this time, though exceptions will be made for houseboat owners at Lime Saddle and Bidwell Canyon Marinas beginning Friday. This access is also somewhat restricted, however.
All of Lake Oroville is still within the wildfire evacuation zone. More portions of the lake could be closed at a moment's notice due to the ever-changing conditions of the fire.
12:15 p.m. update:
Overnight the North Complex Fire jumped containment lines and made about a 50-acre run towards Yuba County. Current evacuations remain in place north and east of where New York House Road meets La Porte Road are still in effect.
The fire is currently in the area west of Clipper Mills/Strawberry Valley, near Sly Creek. Cal Fire says it has doubled its air attack resources today, to really concentrate on the communities above Brownsville.
"For those areas where residents have returned after evacuation orders were lifted, and residents that did not leave and remain in the evacuation area currently; we urge you to continue to be vigilant in monitoring this fire activity as the situation can change rapidly," said the Yuba County Sheriff's Department.
To assist with evacuees, Yuba County Victim Services staff will be at the Brownsville Substation. The team will be there to answer basic questions and offering preliminary resources. Call the victim services hotline at (530) 701-9955 if you cannot make it in person.
11:00 a.m. update:
Disaster Unemployment Assistance has been made available for those suffering from unemployment due to the wildfires.
Temporary benefits were activated by President Donald Trump's disaster declaration. The application deadline to file with the EDD is Sept. 28. Those who qualify can collect up to $450 in weekly benefits for a maximum of 27 weeks. Claims can start as far back as Aug. 16, when many evacuations began.
These benefits are different from FEMA's individual assistance program, which allows people affected by wildfires to receive financial help to pay for things like rent, home repair, childcare, and medical expenses.
9:30 a.m. update:
Firefighters have been able to mostly hold current containment lines since last night. The North Complex Fire is expected to make some movement on the eastern side, but crews will stay with those flames.
Lots of spotting has been occurring to the north, where burn scars from the old Bucks Fire are still prevalent.
"This is an extremely receptive fuel bed, so that's why we're getting all those spots there," said Operations Section Chief Jake Cagle.
In the West Zone, which is handled by Cal Fire, the dangerous terrain is still making firefighting difficult. That terrain has caused more injuries among firefighters.
Still mild weather overnight allowed crews to further strengthen containment lines and extinguish some hot spots to prevent further spread.
The new acreage for the North Complex West Zone is 77,479 acres and 30% containment. The acreage for the North Complex as a whole remains 273,335 and 36% containment.
Containment lines are strengthening as firefighters continue to battle the North Complex and North Complex West Zone fires.
In Cal Fire's latest incident report, it notes Tuesday's weather conditions allowed firefighters to strengthen "several existing containment lines, developing new containment lines and extinguishing several interior hot spots to prevent further spread."
The lightning-started fire that has been burning since Aug. 17, 2020, currently sits at 36% containment and has since burned 273,335 acres. The North Complex West Zone, formerly the Bear Fire, has burned roughly 77,000 acres and is 25% contained. Cal Fire reports aircraft had good visibility and were able to assist ground crews in the firefight. One firefighter has been injured, but the extent of the injuries have not been released.
In Tuesday night's press conference, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea released the identities of three more people killed in the fire. The identities of the victims are:
- Khawar Bhatti, 58 of Berry Creek
- Millicent Catarancuic, 77 of Berry Creek
- Josiah Williams,16 of Berry Creek.
- John Butler, 79, of Berry Creek
- Sandra Butler, 75, of Berry Creek
- Jorge Hernandez-Juarez, 26, of Berry Creek
- Philip Rubel, 68, of Berry Creek
- Jacob Albright, 74, of Feather Falls
- Paul Winer, 68, Berry Creek
- Randy Harrell, 67, of Berry Creek
As of Wednesday, Sept. 16, nearly 800 buildings have been destroyed, with an additional 58 damaged. Cal Fire has released a map of damaged and destroyed structures due to the North Complex and North Complex West Zone fires.
National Interagency Fire Center live map of the fire's location (it might take a few seconds for the fires to show up on the map):
Multiple roads in areas surrounding the fires are still closed.
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