Number of missing in California's deadliest wildfire drops to 25

FILE PHOTO: Coroners and forensic anthropologists recover human remains from a trailer home destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S., November 17, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

(Reuters) - The number of people listed as missing after California’s deadliest wildfire has dropped again to 25, down from a high of more than 1,200 about two weeks ago, officials said.

The death toll from the Camp Fire that all but obliterated the mountain town community of Paradise in northern California stood unchanged at 88, the Butte County Sheriff Department said late on Saturday in a statement.

On Friday, the department had said 49 were missing.

The roster of those unaccounted for has fluctuated widely since the fire erupted on Nov. 8 and swept through Paradise, a town once home to almost 27,000 people about 175 miles (280 km) north of San Francisco.

On Wednesday, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said search and recovery teams had finished going through the ruins of some 18,000 homes and other buildings that were incinerated.

Authorities lifted evacuation orders for residents of some communities in the Magalia area, north of Paradise. Traffic is still barred from entering Paradise itself, the sheriff’s department said in a statement.

The cause of the blaze was still being investigated. But electric utility PG&E Corp reported equipment problems near the origin of the fire around the time it began.

Reporting by Maria Caspani; editing by Grant McCool