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New evidence reduces number of deceased in Almeda fire from 5 to 4

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Updated Sept 12, 8:15 pm

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office has released an update on the missing and deceased persons in the Almeda fire. According to the department some of the remains discovered in the fire that were believed to be human but are not.

"On Saturday there was updated information that there were now a total of five deceased persons from the Almeda Fire. Part of the continuing and fast moving investigation includes assistance from forensic specialists," a statement from the department read. "With their assistance, detectives now believe that one set of remains tentatively thought to be human was confirmed not to be. The number of confirmed deceased persons is now four."

Earlier today information was released about the number of missing persons and the number of persons confirmed as deceased in the Almeda Fire area.

There were approximately 50 persons being sought as missing related to the fire as of this morning. This afternoon that number was reportedly at zero. But Detectives have updated that and believe there is at least one person still unaccounted for.

This number fluctuates with the potential for more as yet unreported missing persons being reported.

Detectives and recovery teams are continuing to work through the weekend on both locating missing persons and searching for other victims of the fire.

Updates will likely not be made again until Monday.

Posted by Mike Moran, JCSO Public Information Officer

Reported Sept 12, 5pm
In a live press conference, Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler announced the department is now investigating at least 5 human remains found in the rubbles of the Almeda fire.

"So far we have been able to determine, we believe that we have recovered five (human) remains from different locations in the county," he said.

Sickler said the department is not currently releasing the addresses where the remains where found out of respect for the families of those of may be deceased.

He said findings are still preliminary but noted so far it is believed that five people have died as a result of the Almeda fire and noted that search and recovery is still underway.

Sickler praised those who have arrived to support firefighting efforts from outside of the area.

"We are very appreciative of all of the people that have come to our area to fight these fires and help keep our community as safe as we can," he said.

Though Almeda fire evacuation zones have been downgraded in some areas, Sickler pointed out that the level 3 evacuation areas are still unsafe to the public and authorities are not allowing entry into those areas.

Sickler said there is no estimate right now on how long it may take for the areas to be restored to a safe level.

"We are working tirelessly to try to get this moving along as fast as we can but I can not give you a definitive answer," he said. "I would plan that there is going to be weeks and potentially months of things not being as we would hope for people being able to get into the homes that were not affected"

The department has been accompanying citizens in those areas back to their homes to pick up essentials or to rescue any pets that may have been left behind. During the conference, Sickler said the department is "making hundreds of trips a day to help residents recover property that they may need."

He noted that though there have been arrests made for looting since the start of the fire, there has been no looting activity reported in the last two days.

"Our staff has done a great job of monitoring that and keeping things safe," he said.

Sickler noted that more information on those arrests will be made available in the coming days.

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