The official death toll in the Almeda Drive Fire in Southern Oregon went down by two on Tuesday.
Rich Tyler, a spokesman for the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office, said the number of those believed killed by the fire at one point this week was as high as five.
But two sets of remains found in the debris of the fire turned out to be animals, so the official death toll went back to three, he said.
The Almeda Fire broke out last Tuesday morning in north Ashland and, driven by strong winds from the south, pushed the fire 13 miles to the north in a matter of hours.
The fire was declared 100% contained Tuesday at 3,200 acres. The fire has also destroyed about 700 buildings, including an estimated 600 homes. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Fire coverage: How people misbehaving contributed to wildfire chaos in California, Oregon
Several neighborhoods and mobile home parks west of Interstate 5 were destroyed in the fast-moving blaze. However, most of the fire area remained closed to the public, officials said.
Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler said crews from outside the area have been brought in to assist in damage assessments of the burn area.
At one point the sheriff’s office had as many as 244 reports of missing people related to the fire, but all of them have been accounted for, Sickler said.
Damon Arthur is the Record Searchlight’s resources and environment reporter. He is among the first on the scene at breaking news incidents, reporting real time on Twitter at @damonarthur_RS. Damon is part of a dedicated team of journalists who investigate wrongdoing and find the unheard voices to tell the stories of the North State. He welcomes story tips at 530-338-8834 and [email protected] Help local journalism thrive by subscribing today!