Last missing person found safely as North Complex Fire containment passes 50%


Cal Fire map of North Complex Fire on Sept. 18, 2020

The North Complex Fire has burned more than 287,000 acres at 54% containment. The West Zone of fire has burned nearly 80,000 acres at 45% containment.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea confirmed that the last person missing from the fire has been found since Thursday night.

“There are no more unaccounted for individuals on the list,” Honea said.

Honea and his team have developed a drone map of the affected fire areas.

“The team has worked mostly in the most impacted areas like Berry Creek and Feather Falls,” Honea said. “In total, the drones have captured about 50 square miles of damage. The video and images are now available to the public for viewing.”

The map includes panoramic photos, videos and maps of the impacted areas. Evacuees can access the map by visiting the Butte County Sheriff’sDepartment website.

News items from Friday’s community briefing included:

  • Butte County has responded to 185 welfare calls; 170 have been found, and 15 are confirmed dead
  • 815 single-residence structures have been destroyed 
  • 28 major fires are burning throughout California
  • 3.4 million acres have burned in California
  • 461 animals are being housed at various shelters and 94 animals remain unclaimed 
  • A sheltering assistance hotline and email has been set up to aid those displaced by the fire. The phone number is 530-552-6150 and the email is [email protected]
  • A local assistance shelter will open on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to provide public assistance to those affected by the fire. Hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. 
  • A new website where evacuees can find their animals has been set up.

Shelby Boston, director of the department of employment and social services in Butte County, confirmed that 1,171 evacuees have been placed in non-congregate shelters since the fire started.

Starting on Tuesday, a local assistance center will be open at Feather River Parks and Recreation Gymnastics Academy. Boston predicts that the assistance shelter will open for the next three weeks.

“The Local Assistance Shelter is a one-stop-shop where you can receive help replacing important documents, getting connected to social services and nonprofits who have come in to support survivors,” Boston said. “There will be a number of organizations available like the Red Cross and local county departments.”

Boston stressed the importance of fire survivors signing up for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency before the shelter opens. The total number of survivors qualifying for the aid provided by FEMA affects how much other qualifying survivors will receive. 

“I encourage you to take the small steps in your recovery right now,” Boston said. “Something that often goes unthought of is shutting off your utilities. It sounds simple but it will become a bigger issue further in your recovery. While you have this time and before the local assistance shelter opens up, I encourage you to call PG&E, your local telephone company, your local cable and satellite provider, and turn off those services so you don’t receive a bill further on for services you did not receive.”  

Boston also noted that there is still space at the Cal Oaks small animal shelter, located in Oroville. Large animals can be taken to Camelot Equestrian Park.

Dan Borsum, an incident meteorologist, noted the consistent weather patterns in Butte County. Clearer skies, cooler temperatures, higher humidity and low winds have been consistent this week.

“In fact, this higher humidity is the highest we have seen since Sept. 4 and that is a good thing,” Borsum said. “Fortunately, we are going to keep the higher humidity in the forecast, not as elevated as today, but looking forward it will stay higher than it was at the beginning of September.”

Strong winds are not expected for at least the next seven days, Borsum added.

Chris Harvey, a Cal Fire information officer, confirmed that a bear was spotted in the Berry Creek area.

“The bear is currently being treated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and is under close observation at the wildlife investigation lab in Sacramento,” Harvey said. “The bear is in what they call stable but guarded condition.”

The bear suffered burns to its paws and is currently being treated with fish skin grafts. 

Matthew Wreden and Chloe Curtis can be reached at [email protected] or @bymattwreden and @ChloeCurtis__ on Twitter.

“The sheriff’s office has investigated 188 cases involving individuals who were either reported to be missing or unaccounted for and as of tonight, everybody has been accounted for. There are no more unaccounted for individuals on the list,” said Honea.