California

What we know about the Camp Fire, the missing, stories of survival and more

‘Overwhelming.’ See Camp Fire crews sift through debris looking for human remains

Search and rescue workers sifted through debris looking for human remains on Nov. 15, 2018. Investigators will use dental records among other things to identify victims of the Camp Fire in Butte County.
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Search and rescue workers sifted through debris looking for human remains on Nov. 15, 2018. Investigators will use dental records among other things to identify victims of the Camp Fire in Butte County.

Updated: 6:20 a.m. Nov. 25

The Camp Fire in Butte County has wreaked untold destruction since erupting Nov. 8 – killing at least 85 people, burning nearly 15,000 buildings, including nearly all of the foothill town of Paradise, and sending thousands fleeing for their lives. Nearly 475 people remain listed as missing as of Friday evening.

It’s now the deadliest and most destructive blaze in California history. Here’s everything you need to know.

Flyover shows the destruction from the Camp Fire, California’s deadliest wildfire, in Paradise on Nov. 13, 2018.

Top stories

‘This fire was outrunning us’: Surviving the Camp Fire took bravery, stamina and luck. The sun had not yet crested the Sierra Nevada range in Butte County on Nov. 8 when a Cal Fire radio channel crackled to life.

The Butte sheriff lists 475 people still missing in the Camp Fire. Are they really? Is it possible the death toll for the devastating Camp Fire, already the deadliest in state history, could ultimately be much higher than the current tally of 85 victims?

Paradise educators work to get kids back in school. School officials aim to start classes again Dec. 3.

Generators, Coors and canned food. How these ‘mountain boys’ are surviving in Paradise. Brad Weldon’s home was spared, but everything around him was wiped out.

A cat, the Camp Fire and 2 days of fear: How one survivor made it out. Cheryl Valente was not going to abandon her cat Chelsea to the Camp Fire, but she doubted either of them was going to survive. “If I was (in pain), I didn’t know it because I was in survival mode . . . I just wanted my cat to live,” she said.

The Camp Fire took their house, but it didn’t ruin their Thanksgiving. Looking over the scorched-earth plot of land along Neal Road in south Paradise where his mobile home was just two weeks ago, William Hammond wonders whether he will rebuild.

Latest on the fire

Death toll reaches 85; more Butte County residents allowed home to survey Camp Fire damage. The blaze was 98 percent contained Saturday evening, Cal Fire said, with full containment expected by Friday.

Camp Fire in California may be reaching its dying embers. Aided by two days of drenching rains, fire officials in Butte County report that the Camp Fire is 95 percent contained, and that crews on Friday were putting out hot spots in the mountains east of Paradise as well as laying fire lines to cover the last edge of the once-raging fire.

‘So far, so good’ — Camp Fire area escapes debris flows, but more rain is on the way. A Thanksgiving rainstorm hasn’t brought dangerous debris flows to the Camp Fire burn zone,but officials said the heaviest rains were expected in the Paradise and Chico areas later Friday.

PG&E reports second power line problem before Camp Fire. Paradise residents file lawsuits. A week after reporting a power-line outage near where the Camp Fire is suspected of starting, Pacific Gas & Electric said in a regulatory filing that it suffered a second problem with a high voltage line the morning the devastating fire ignited.

Staggered evacuation plan questioned in fire’s aftermath. Paradise’s carefully laid plans quickly devolved into a panicked exodus. Some survivors said that by the time they got warnings, the flames were already extremely close, and they barely escaped with their lives. Others said they received no warnings at all.

How bad was the Paradise fire? Cal Fire map, photos show house-by-house destruction. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials have begun surveying properties damaged by the Camp Fire in Butte County.

5 things to know about Paradise, the town leveled by the Camp Fire. Before last week’s tragic events, the Butte County community of Paradise, six miles east of Chico city limits, was a fairly quiet place. It had just under 27,000 residents as of the 2010 census.

California wildfires: What fires are burning now and where are they? The Woolsey Fire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, which also erupted Thursday, has killed three people and destroyed 1,500 structures as of Tuesday evening, according to Cal Fire. The fire has displaced thousands of people, including numerous celebrities living in the Malibu area — some of whom also lost their homes.

The smoke

Will wildfire smoke hurt your health long-term? Pollution studies offer clues. Longer-term, experts say, the health of people breathing in smoke from the wildfires might well depend on the degree of their exposure and whether the microscopic particles floating in the air manage to worm their way deep into lungs and circulatory systems.

TODAY’S AIR QUALITY

This live-updating map shows the combined readings for particulate matter and ozone.
AQI Animation - https://files.airnowtech.org/airnow/today/anim_aqi_sacramento_ca.gif
Source: airnow.gov

Camp Fire in Butte County

Red circles on this live-updating map are actively burning areas, as detected by satellite. Orange circles have burned in the past 12 to 24 hours, and yellow circles have burned within the past 48 hours. Yellow areas represent the fire perimeter.
Source: National Interagency Fire Center


How to help

Searching for a dog, cat — or pigeon — lost in the Camp Fire? Here’s where to look. The North Valley Animal Disaster Group has created a site with photos of dozens of pets at an emergency shelter in Chico.

These pets survived the Camp Fire -- but now the rescuers need help finding their owners. Northern California animal hospitals are asking for help reuniting dozens of pets that survived the Camp Fire — the deadliest in state history — with the animals’ owners.

How you can help victims of the Camp Fire. Some ways you can best support evacuees.

Generous but useless donations flood wildfire evacuation centers. Here’s what to send. Evacuation centers aiding Camp Fire evacuees say they’re overwhelmed by donations of clothes and other supplies, but could really use cash and gift cards.

Wildfires and California

Climate change could triple the frequency of large wildfires, says new federal report. Residents of the western United States should prepare for a potential tripling of large wildfires in the coming decades, a new federal report on climate change revealed.

Worst wildfire year since when? More California acres have burned in 2018 than the past decade. The 2017 wildfire season in California was among the worst on record, punctuated by deadly late-fall blazes in both the north and south parts of the state. This year has been far worse.

Power lines keep sparking wildfires. Why don’t California utility companies bury them? Why don’t utilities just put the power lines underground? In fire-scarred California communities, that question is being posed, often angrily, as evidence mounts that California’s traditional overhead electrical power grid is at times a liability, culpable for starting some of the state’s biggest blazes.

California wildfires start in the woods. Why do cities keep burning? A recent Villanova University study found there are about 7 million homes in fire-prone areas in the West, more than 10 times the 600,000 or so that were present in 1940.

Did a campfire ignite the Camp Fire? How wildfires get their names. The devastating Carr Fire in July may have been sparked by a flat tire, but that’s not how the wildfire got its name. And the Camp Fire now blazing through Butte County didn’t start in a campfire pit.

What does it really mean when a wildfire has been ‘contained’ or ‘controlled’? If a wildfire has been 100 percent contained, does that mean it’s out? What about controlled? And what do those containment percentages in daily fire updates mean, anyway?

The raging Camp Fire burned through the town of Paradise in Northern California and raced toward the city of Chico. As of Friday morning, November 9, 2018, the wildfire had consumed 20,000 acres.

This story has been updated on Nov. 25 to reflect a correction in the death toll of the Camp Fire. Authorities earlier erroneously reported the number of fatalities as 87. The correct number as of Nov. 25 is 85.

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