Heavy rains expected to hit Northern California late on Tuesday could help firefighters but will raise the risk of mudslides and hinder the search for more victims of the deadliest wildfire in the state's history as nearly 1,000 people remain missing.
The chance of floods or mudslides also could increase the misery of the evacuees, some of whom are living in tents or sleeping in their cars.
Remains of 79 victims have been recovered since the Camp Fire erupted on Nov. 8 and largely obliterated the Sierra foothills town of Paradise, a community of nearly 27,000 people about 175 miles north of San Francisco.
The missing persons list kept by the Butte County Sheriff's Office still has 993 names on it.
That number has fluctuated dramatically in the past week as additional people were reported missing or as some initially listed as unaccounted for either turn up alive or are identified among the dead.
Sheriff Kory Honea has said some people have been added to the list more than once at times under different spellings of their names.
As of early Tuesday, the fire had torched more than 151,000 acres (61,100 hectares) of parched scrub and trees and incinerated about 12,000 homes, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
Efforts to suppress the flames were likely to benefit from a storm expected to dump as much as 4 inches (10 cm) of rain north of San Francisco between late Tuesday and Friday.
Containment lines have been built around 70 percent of its perimeter, according to the agency.
Smoke from the fire has lead to school closures in the region. Citing poor air quality, schools and colleges in the Sacramento area will remain closed until Nov. 26.
Flights in and out of San Francisco also have continued to experience some delays or cancellations because of the smoke.