Two horrific fires continued to torment Californians over the weekend., leaving at least 31 people dead. 29 people have been reported dead from Northern California’s Camp Fire and two from Southern California’s Woolsey Fire. The Camp Fire, which has caused more destruction than any other fire in the state’s history, has burned over 110,000 acres; by Sunday morning, it was reportedly 25% contained, according to Cal Fire.
The Camp Fire totally destroyed the town of Paradise. As The Washington Post reported:
Butte County Sheriff Kory L. Honea said late Sunday that authorities were trying to account for 228 people reported missing by friends or family members. Honea said some may be in shelters. He urged citizens to tell authorities if and when they find a person who had been unaccounted for. Some of the victims died in their cars as they attempted to escape. Authorities have not released the names of victims, and Paradise, a city of 27,000 popular with retirees, is quarantined. The city is without power and has no operational businesses, and few residents have returned. Paradise has been essentially obliterated.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported, “The Camp Fire, given the name because it started along Camp Creek Road near Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon, started at about 6:30 a.m. Thursday. A total of 6,713 structures have been destroyed: 6,453 homes and 260 commercial buildings. Another 15,000 structures remained threatened by the flames. The cause of the fire is under investigation and Cal Fire said it’s looking into the the possibility that the fire was sparked by electrical equipment.”
The Woolsey Fire that destroyed parts of Malibu and leaped across Pacific Coast Highway, which runs along the Pacific Ocean, also raced east through the town of Calabasas and forced evacuations of roughly 265,000 residents — 95,000 in Ventura County and 170,000 in Los Angeles County. The fire had, by Sunday, torn through 83,275 acres near the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Containment was reportedly at 15%.
Evacuated cities included the entire city of Malibu and Calabasas, and significant parts of Westlake Village, Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks.
Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby stated, “There’s not going to be any relief in this firefight.” According to la.curbed.com, “Approximately 57,000 structures in Ventura and Los Angeles counties are still at risk.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department chief John Benedict warned residents in evacuation zones not to return home. He said, “We ask people: Do not go back to those areas. Quite frankly, it’s still not safe.”
The Hill Fire covered 4,531 acres and was 75% contained.
Over 300,000 people have been forced from their homes statewide as a result of the fires.
Wired explained regarding the fires:
The driving force has been extreme wind—gusts of up to 60 miles per hour, perhaps even 70 in the hills of Southern California—blowing through the state. Wind further desiccates already dry vegetation and pushes the fires along with incredible speed … The fire-fanning winds originate in the jet stream, a band of strong winds in the upper reaches of the atmosphere. The jet stream strengthens at this time of year, amplifying its natural meandering nature and creating troughs that move south through California, which you can see in the tweet below. That’s why all these fires popped up on either end of the state nearly simultaneously: They share a common origin in the jet stream.
The Camp Fire: