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Task force begins grim work of looking for North Complex Fire victims

Members of a federal task force planned to depart from East Palo Alto on Monday morning to assist in recovery efforts at the North Complex Fire burning in Butte, Plumas and Yuba counties.

Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman said the 80-person Urban Search and Rescue Team, made up of local first responders, emergency room doctors and other specialists, was planning on leaving from a fire district warehouse in a convoy of emergency vehicles Monday morning.

Cal Fire The Urban Search and Rescue Team heads to the North Complex Fire area Monday, Sept. 21, 2020.

The task force will be going into burned-out structures to look for anyone missing or dead in the fire, which had burned 291,200 acres as of Monday morning with 15 deaths reported. The fire is the fifth-largest in state history.

The team helped in similar efforts for about two weeks at the site of the 2018 Camp Fire, also in Butte County, Schapelhouman said.

More information about the Urban Search and Rescue Team can be found at

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