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Officials Identify 1 Of 2 People Killed In Butte Fire; Containment Grows

Steve Crowley / Courtesy
 

Steve Crowley / Courtesy

10:30 p.m. - Fire officials say containment on the Butte Fire has reached 55 percent, with acreage holding at 70,760 through the day Thursday.

Revised damage assessments show 365 residences and 261 outbuildings destroyed in the blaze, and 26 other structures damaged.

The Calaveras County Sheriff's office has set up a temporary phone line for missing persons phone associated with the Butte Fire.

To report a missing person,call (209) 754-6345. This number is not for welfare checks. The Sheriff’s Office requests that any missing person’s reports that are not associated with the Butte Fire be reported to Calaveras Sheriff’s Dispatch Center at (209) 754-6500.

 

10:40 a.m. - Calaveras County officials confirmed two fatalities of people found inside their homes near the Butte Fire. The blaze is 70,760 acres and is 49 percent. 

"Crews were out last night working the line, taking advantage of this cool weather," says Buck Condit with Cal Fire. "The 71,000 acres, you know you're still going to have a lot of problem areas well within the footprint of the burn."

Condit says Cal Fire crews are making the most of cool, wet weather now - before things heat up.

"The cooler weather is still expected to occur today, which still allows us time to get in there and work those fire lines," says Condit. "And it allows us to get in there and work directly on the fire line."

PG&E says a tree branch hitting a power line may have played a role in sparking the Butte Fire. Cal Fire is still investigating to confirm the cause.

Calaveras County coroner Kevin Raggio identified one of two victims found inside burned out homes as 65-year-old Mark McCloud.

7:03 a.m. - Fire investigators are looking into whether the Butte Fire that has killed two people was sparked after a live tree came in contact with Pacific Gas and Electric Company power lines.

Cal Fire says the fire started on Butte Mountain Road in Amador County, but what sparked the blaze remains under investigation. Dogs are being used to search for a former police reporter and several other people who authorities fear were also killed in that fire.

The blaze has burned 70,760 acres and is 49 percent contained.

Meanwhile the death toll in the fire is growing. The Calaveras County coroner says two bodies were found Tuesday inside their homes, destroyed by the Butte Fire.

The coroner says one person is a 65-year-old man, who refused to heed a mandatory evacuation order. The coroner declined to identify the second victim, saying the family hasn't been notified. 

The Butte Fire is ranked no. 14 among the top 20 most damaging wildfires in California's history.