BUTTE COUNTY (CBS13) — The latest on the Bear Fire, an extension of the North Complex Fire that started the Plumas National Forest:
Cal Fire has given a new name to the wildfire that has now destroyed or damaged thousands of structures.
The Bear Fire will now be called the North Complex West Zone by authorities, Cal Fire announced Thursday morning.
It’s unclear why the name was changed, but the new designation reflects how the wildfire is part of the larger North Complex Fire that had been burning for nearly a month before exploding this week.
The #BearFire in Butte County has a new name. It will be referred to from now forward as the #NorthComplexWestZone. Here is the morning update and a Public Information map of the fire. pic.twitter.com/Jc6n6xcrMO
— CAL FIRE Butte Unit/Butte County Fire Department (@CALFIRE_ButteCo) September 10, 2020
Cal Fire also listed a total of 2,000 structures being destroyed or damaged as of Thursday morning. It’s unclear how many of those structures were homes at this point. Another 22,356 structures remain threatened.
As of Thursday, the North Complex West Zone/Bear Fire has grown to 70,250 acres. Containment still stands at 0 percent.
Authorities in Butte County Thursday were looking for at least 12 people missing in the Bear Fire after three people were found dead in connection with the fire Wednesday.
One mother, Jessica Williams, reported her 16-year-old son Josiah missing. He was last seen in Berry Creek and, as of Thursday morning, she says she still hasn’t been able to contact him.
Some 20,000 people are under evacuation orders in the area due to the Bear Fire, which is part of the North Complex fires in Butte, Plumas and Yuba counties
— Laura Haefeli (@LauraHaefeli) September 10, 2020
After a seriously burst of wind storms, the fire exploded over the past few days after burning for about three weeks. Hundreds of homes and other structures have either been damage or destroyed. As of Thursday morning, the North Complex fires had burned 252,163 acres, or nearly 400 square miles, with containment at 24 percent – down from a high of 51 percent it was before these new starts.
Parts of the communities of Paradise and Concow, which were devastated by the 2018 Camp Fire, are once again being threatened by the Bear Fire.
The U.S. Forest Service says winds were predicted to shift Thursday to the southwest, which could produce increased fire behavior and smoke.