By DeMarco Morgan CBS News November 16, 2018, 6:33 PM Camp Fire survivor ran for his life after he got a message from a 911 operator
CHICO, Calif. — President Trump will get a firsthand look Saturday at the most destructive wildfire in California's history. At least 63 people are dead after the Camp Fire tore through the region.
After the fire, the state's deadliest on record, the search for the missing has become a monumental task. The list of people unaccounted for after the Camp Fire skyrocketed to more than 600. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said more names were added after combing through hundreds of emergency calls that have come in for missing people.
"The chaos that we were dealing with was extraordinary and so now we're trying to go back and make sure that we're accounting for all the information," Honea said.
Social media is filled with posts of those looking for missing friends and family members. Most fear the death toll will rise.
Firefighters and rescue workers were overwhelmed with 911 calls as the fire surrounded people in their homes and cars tried to escape.
City officials said more than 30,000 alerts were sent by home and cellphones as well as text messages. No alert was sent to Matt Masterson. He was home alone with his 3-year-old daughter when flames jumped into his backyard. He ran for his life after getting a message from a 911 operator.
"She said, 'Don't wait for us. Do what you can to survive,'" Masterson said.
"No plan will ever work 100 percent when you are dealing with that much chaos," Honea said.
Many did make it out, and 52,000 residents were evacuated. But now makeshift shelters have popped up, including one in the parking lot of a Walmart. A spokesperson for Walmart said they have no deadline to close the impromptu camp.
There is rain in the forecast for next week, which could complicate recovery efforts by washing away valuable DNA evidence.