Josh lived in Paradise, and Bellairs had called friends and former girlfriends, scoured social media for mentions of Josh and contacted local television stations, authorities and the jail, all in vain. One friend heard that Josh got a ride through Magalia, six miles northeast of Paradise, but there was no confirmation.
With more than 52,000 people chased from their homes by the blaze, authorities are trying to put a number on individuals who are missing. A Facebook page lists 105 people, and on Monday, authorities reported 223 people whose whereabouts have yet to be confirmed.
Bellairs was hoping evacuees who had arrived in Chico might be able to help. He and his girlfriend had driven from their home in Medford, Ore., to help his mother and stepfather, who had been burned out by the Camp fire.