After visiting some of California's earlier wildfire zones in August, US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke blamed "gross mismanagement of forests" because of timber harvest restrictions that he said were supported by "environmental terrorist groups".
Some of the thousands of people forced from their homes by the blaze were allowed to return, and authorities reopened US 101, a major freeway through the fire zone in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday evening, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea confirmed the number of dead, and the official number of missing.
In Northern California, fire crews still fighting the blaze that obliterated Paradise contended with wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour overnight, the flames jumping 300 feet across Lake Oroville.
At least 228 people are missing as the Camp Fire continues to rage.
The fire, which has charred 195 square miles and destroyed more than 6,400 homes since it started Thursday, was reported 30 percent contained.
"We're now at a point where we're going to bring in human remains detector dogs, or what often are referred to as cadaver dogs", Honea said Monday.
Hundreds of people were unaccounted for by the sheriff's reckoning, four days after the fire swept over the town of 27,000 and practically wiped it off the map with flames so fierce that authorities brought in a mobile DNA lab and forensic anthropologists to help identify the dead.More news: Trump says North Korean missile sites are 'nothing new'
Berkeley and his wife, Robyn Berkeley, choked back tears as they recounted their ordeal holding back a 100-foot wall of flames and then repeatedly beating back hot spots that continued to flare up throughout the night and next day.
Glenn Simmons, 64, told AFP in the nearby town of Chico that he had been sleeping in his vehicle since Thursday, unable to find a space in a shelter. Still, the Fresno, California, resident wasn't planning on heading to the fire area. Everything is burned up. "I feel awful for the people of Paradise and Magalia", he said. Winds, coupled with higher average annual temperatures, tinder-dry brush and a lack of rain in recent years, make the "perfect ingredients" for explosive fire growth around the state, said Chris Anthony, a division chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Three firefighters have been injured in the effort to quell the blaze's advance.
In the south of the state, other wildfires are menacing lives and property.
On Nov. 12, 2018, NBC reports there were 13 more bodies discovered in the northernmost fire in the state.
Citing the role of a warming climate, Governor Brown declared: "This is not the new normal, this is the new abnormal".
Singer Miley Cyrus's home was one of the buildings destroyed in southern California. All community members impacted by the fire are urged to attend. "My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that's all that matters right now", she tweeted.
Numerous missing are elderly and from Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 to the north of Paradise. That number is nearly double what it was in the 1970s, and people are living closer to at-risk forest areas. County animal care officials also are asking residents to foster animals to free up space in shelters.