‘Zero containment’ for Butte County wildfire

Ten deaths confirmed as renamed Bear Fire continues to burn

A property along Bald Rock Road in Berry Creek burned out during the 2020 North Complex fire. (Photo by Jason Cassidy)

Update (Sept. 11, 7 a.m.): The West Zone of the North Complex grew overnight by more than 5,000 acres. It’s now at 70,412 acres with 5 percent containment.

Seven more deaths have been confirmed for the Butte County portion of wildfires burning in the North Complex. At the operational update tonight (Sept. 10), it was announced that the death toll climbed to 10 while the number of missing within the fire perimeter is at 16. No further details on the deceased were provided.

After a day of comparatively mild winds and cooler temperatures, fire growth slowed considerably for the North Complex of fires, which started in Plumas County on Aug. 18 and has been composed of multiple lightning-sparked blazes, including the Claremont and Bear fires, the latter of which rushed into Butte County and down to the edge of Oroville from Sept. 8 to Sept. 9. From now on, fire officials will be referring to Butte County portion of the of the North Complex fires as the West Zone (“Bear” will no longer be used), which will be managed by Cal Fire.

There are 4,200 structures within the fire’s Butte County boundary, and the preliminary number for those thought to be damaged and/or destroyed is 2,000. The community of Berry Creek has been hit particularly hard, with many homes and other buildings—including Berry Creek Elementary, the Berry Creek Grange and Butte County Fire Station 61—in ruins. (See this slideshow of aftermath images.) Proper damage assessments are scheduled to begin tomorrow (Sept. 11).

The West Zone of the North Complex is at 65,295 acres burned and zero percent containment as fire personnel continue to focus mainly on structure protection. The entire North Complex is at approximately 250,000 acres burned and 23 percent containment.

Most evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect. Stay up to date on the fires and evacuation announcements using the links below:

North Complex fires (including the West Zone—previously the Bear Fire):

Butte County updates:
Butte County evacuation order/warning map
Butte County Sheriff
Code RED Butte County alert signup
Butte County Sheriff Twitter
Cal Fire Butte Unit/Butte County Fire Twitter
Butte Wx Spotter Facebook page

Plumas County updates:
Plumas County Sheriff Facebook
Code RED Plumas County signup

Yuba County updates:
Yuba County Sheriff Facebook

To assist fire victims, check out the North Valley Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief and Recovery Fund.

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