Number of people believed missing in California wildfire drops to three

FILE PHOTO: Stanley Miniszewski Sr. uses a burnt golf club to look for a pair of expensive dentures in the remains of his RV after returning for the first time since the Camp Fire forced him to evacuate as his friend Merrill Jackson looks on at Pine Ridge Park in Paradise, California, U.S. November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo FILE PHOTO: Stanley Miniszewski Sr. uses a burnt golf club to look for a pair of expensive dentures in the remains of his RV after returning for the first time since the Camp Fire forced him to evacuate as his friend Merrill Jackson looks on at Pine Ridge Park in Paradise, California, U.S. November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo

(Reuters) – The number of people unaccounted for in California’s deadliest wildfire dropped to just three, down from a high of more than 1,200, officials said late on Monday.

The death toll from the so-called Camp Fire remains at 85, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said.

The fire started in November 8 and was fully contained by November 25. It all but obliterated the mountain community of Paradise, home to more than 27,000 people about 175 miles north of San Francisco.

FILE PHOTO: Firefighters move debris while recovering human remains from a trailer home destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S., November 17, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

FILE PHOTO: Firefighters move debris while recovering human remains from a trailer home destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S., November 17, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

Of the dead, 50 have positively identified and 31 have been tentatively identified, officials said.

No human remains have been found since early December, but the search will continue, officials said.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. The electricity utility PG&E Corp reported equipment problems near the origin of the fire around the time it began.

(Reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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