Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said 203 names remain on the list of those unaccounted for after the Camp Fire swept through the rural area 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of San Francisco.
The fire erupted just west of Los Angeles amid strong winds on November 8 and burned through suburban communities and wilderness parklands to the sea, leaving vast areas of blackened earth and many homes in ashes.
Flames had surrounded the home he was visiting - and the only way out was to go through them.
The blaze that ignited November 8 destroyed more than 13,000 homes. In the long run, the Los Angeles Times noted, a Butte County homeless population already estimated at 2,000 is likely to grow, while other people are likely to leave the state.
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Heavy downfalls that have soaked the fire zone in the past days helped douse the remaining flames, but also made it more hard for crews searching for bodies. About 7 inches of rain fell over the burn area for three days without causing major mudslides, said Hannah Chandler-Cooley of the National Weather Service. He said while the rain helped douse some of the fire and made things easier for the dogs searching for bodies, it also complicated search efforts.
Officials said most of the victims of the fire identified so far have been of retirement age.
In Southern California, more residents were allowed to return to areas that were evacuated because of the 151-square-mile (391-square-kilometer) Woolsey Fire as crews worked to fix power, telephone and gas utilities.
So far, FEMA officials say the US government has distributed more than $20 million in assistance for people displaced by Butte County's Camp Fire.
"I really appreciate your efforts to do whatever you can for many people who have lost everything and members of family" in the northern California blaze, said Johnson, who said her nephew is also one of the victims in the blaze.