50 still missing in North Bay Firestorm; death toll won’t grow much higher

Fire crews build a containment line as they battle a wildfire Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, near Boulder Creek, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Fire crews build a containment line as they battle a wildfire Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, near Boulder Creek, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

PETALUMA (AP) – A spokesman for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office says he doesn’t expect the death toll to go much higher than 23 in the wine country county devastated by Northern California wildfires.

At least 42 people have died in wildfires that started Oct. 8, most of them in Sonoma County.

Sgt. Spencer Crum said Wednesday that the “number of dead people we’re finding has really slowed down” and that many people listed as missing have been located safely.

The death toll in Sonoma County increased from 22 to 23 on Wednesday after searchers found a body in the debris of a burned house in Santa Rosa. The last body was found Saturday.

Half of the 50 missing person reports are for homeless people, and Crum doesn’t believe they perished in fires because they did not live in areas hardest hit by fire. He said many missing person reports are made by people who haven’t seen the individual in years but thinks that person was last in Sonoma County.

Napa County reported Tuesday that eight people remained on its missing person list.

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