CHICO (AP) — Fire officials say firefighters have gained ground against a Northern California wildfire that killed at least 79 people.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday that the fire is now 70 percent contained. That’s up from 66 percent Monday morning. The blaze’s size remained at 236 square miles (611 square kilometers).

The gains come ahead of rain forecast for the region starting Wednesday that is expected to last through the Thanksgiving weekend.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for wildfire-scarred areas.

It says newly burned areas in and around Paradise are prone to downhill ash and debris flows.

Officials say they worry rain could complicate the efforts of the crews searching for human remains by washing away signs of the dead or turning the dusty debris into a thick paste.

 

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