Rain could complicate search

Crews searching for remains of people after the devastating Northern California wildfire are stepping up their efforts because of rain forecast for later this week that could complicate their work.

Volunteers and cadaver dogs were scouring burned houses Sunday in Paradise, looking for victims. They're focusing on vehicles, bathtubs and mattress springs that would indicate a charred bed. If no remains are found, the team spray paints a large orange "O" near the home.

Rain would help suppress the fire but could also complicate the search and recovery effort. Officials say ash that is now dry and easy to dust off would turn into paste, making it harder to uncover remains.

Nearly 1,300 names are on a list of people unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began in Butte County, authorities said late Saturday. They stressed that the long roster does not mean they believe all those on the list are missing.

In Southern California, firefighters are making progress against the blaze that broke out Nov. 8 and tore through communities from Thousand Oaks to Malibu.

More evacuees have been allowed back in their homes and the 151-square-mile blaze is now 88 percent contained.

Associated Press