California's deadliest wildfire fully contained

Hydro One

Rain helps mostly douse California fire but slows searchers

A massive wildfire that killed at least 85 people and destroyed thousands of homes in Northern California has been fully contained after burning for more than two weeks.

The so-called Camp Fire all but obliterated the mountain community of Paradise, 175 miles (280 km) northeast of San Francisco, on November 8, killing at least 84 people and destroying almost 14,000 homes.

The number of people still missing from the Camp Fire north of San Francisco dropped to 249 on Sunday, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said. They were searching for telltale fragments or bone or anything that looks like a pile of cremated ashes.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said on Monday that the costs of the fire would likely reach billions of dollars, NBC News reported.

The rain helped extinguish hotspots in smoldering areas, and containment increased to 95 percent.

On Sunday, crews continued sifting through muddy ash for human remains in and around the devastated town.

PG&E and other utilities have sought more far-reaching legislation that would eliminate a rule known as inverse condemnation, which holds utilities responsible for economic damages from wildfires started by their equipment, even if they followed safety rules.

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"Unfortunately, numerous remains we've located have been almost completely consumed by the fire", sheriff Kory Honea said in a Monday night news conference.

Thousands of people remain displaced, some in emergency shelters or hotels and some in makeshift campsites.

"It doesn't change the spirits of the guys working", he said.

However, the rain also raises concerns that mudslides and debris flows could be caused in the burn scar areas of Paradise. "Collaboration btwn federal, state & local partners is a priority when it comes to helping folks get back on their feet". Some 4,000 firefighters from throughout the state and the West battled the flames at the height of the fire.

As of Saturday evening, the uncontained portion of the fire was along steep terrain unsafe for firefighters due to recent heavy rains, the agency said.

In Northern California, the searchers tried to keep their minds on the task rather than the tragic situation.

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