Teams Sift Through the Rubble for Those Lost to the Camp Fire

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BUTTE COUNTY -- Every major find search and rescue teams come up with amid the ash from the Camp Fire means one more name added to the fire’s death toll.

Bruce Wilkerson has been part of search and rescue teams for 35 years. He says the emotions behind the task eventually catch up with you.

"Later on, weeks later when we debrief and talk about it, yeah it bothers you," Wilkerson told FOX40.

But Wilkerson said it's a service for the many families waiting for news, albeit sometimes bad news, about missing loved ones.

"You find somebody and make the family happy," Wilkerson said.

"We have all these people that want to know the status of their loved ones, so they’re depending on us," said Butte County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Collins.

Which is why Collins said the effort is such a priority. It's spearheaded by nearly 200 search and rescue personnel from around the region and paired with Cal Fire crews and anthropologists from three major universities.

The teams work through a list of addresses associated with those still missing.

It's difficult but it's work that has to be done.

"It does take a toll," Collins said. "I know a number of our employees that are here that are helping in this process have lost their own homes. Yet, they’ve been here every day."

FOX40 watched as some crews put ribbons on homes or cars when they were done searching. They will be back out Wednesday. There are still large areas that have yet to be searched.

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