- Associated Press - Thursday, September 17, 2015

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. (AP) - The latest on wildfires raging in drought-stricken California (all times local):

10:35 a.m.

Bruce Beven Burns was a laid-back guy who sold items at a flea market and was considered a big Teddy bear by his family.

His sister-in-law, Shirley Burns, said Thursday the 65-year-old man was living in a trailer at the family’s metal recycling yard in Northern California and was likely sleeping and didn’t realize the fire in Lake County was marching quickly toward him Saturday.

The Lake County sheriff’s office says official identifications have yet to be made, but Burns and former police reporter Leonard Neft are presumed to be among the five people found dead from the fires.



Neft’s wife and daughter were not available for comment.

Shirley Burns described her brother-in-law as a kind and gentle man who was cheery and thoughtful.

8:50 a.m.

Authorities say two more bodies have been found in homes burned by a California wildfire, bringing the death toll from the blazes in the northern part of the state to five.

The Lake County Sheriff’s office says official identifications have yet to be made, but they are presumed to be the bodies of Bruce Beven Burns and former San Jose Mercury News police reporter, Leonard Neft.

Neft last spoke with his family Saturday evening.

Authorities earlier found his burned-out car on the route he would have used to escape.

Authorities on Sunday found the body of 72-year-old Barbara McWilliams in her burned-out home near Middletown.

About 170 miles southeast, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Calaveras County coroner Kevin Raggio said two bodies were found inside burned-out homes. One of the victims was identified as 65-year-old Mark McCloud.

7:10 a.m.

Crews are looking for at least four people reported missing in a Northern California wildfire that has been burning since Saturday.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Thursday that the death toll could rise in the 115-square-mile Lake County fire that left a disabled woman dead. In a separate fire, about 170 miles southeast authorities say two bodies were found inside burned-out homes.

Among those unaccounted for in the Lake County fire is 69-year-old Leonard Neft, a former reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, whose home and car were destroyed.

KRON reports Thursday that another man, Edwin Null is also missing.

Authorities confirmed family members of two other people have filed missing-person reports, but did not identify them. The missing have not been heard from since the fire started.

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