USA – CHICO, Calif. (AP) — The potential magnitude of the wildfire disaster in Northern California escalated as officials raised the death toll to 63 and released a missing-persons list with 631 names on it more than a week after the flames swept through.
The fast-growing roster of people unaccounted for probably includes some who fled the blaze and do not realize they have been reported missing, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said late Thursday.
He said he made the list public in the hope that people will see they are on it and let authorities know they are OK.
‘‘The chaos that we were dealing with was extraordinary,’’ Honea said of the crisis last week, when the flames razed the town of Paradise and outlying areas in what has proved to be the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century. ‘‘Now we’re trying to go back out and make sure that we’re accounting for everyone.’’