At least 23 people have died and more than 100 are still missing in the fire that devastates the north of California (USA) baptized as ‘Camp Fire’, the most destructive in the history of this state. California Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea has informed reporters of the discovery of 14 new bodies, ten of them in Paradise, a city of about 26,000, adding to the nine killed by the flames confirmed previously.
Thousands of firefighters fight the fire in the affected areas of the state, although with little hope of containing the advance of the flames fanned by the strong wind.
More than 250,000 residents have received an evacuation order from a large area near the state capital, Sacramento, and from Malibu, a tourist city of Hollywood, in southern California, in the United States.
So far, all reported deaths occurred in the city of Paradise, Butte County, north of Sacramento, where more than 6,700 buildings were burned, mostly residences. There, on Saturday, the rescue teams have recovered for hours human remains of the charred remnants of some houses and were placed in a hearse.
US President Donald Trump raised the official death toll to 11 on Saturday night, an account that seemed destined to continue growing as jobs continued in Paradise.”Our hearts are with those who are fighting the fires, with the 52,000 evacuees and the families of the 11 deceased,” Trump tweeted.
More than 4,000 are fighting the Camp and Woolsey Fires in California that have burned over 170,000 acres. Our hearts are with those fighting the fires, the 52,000 who have evacuated, and the families of the 11 who have died. The destruction is catastrophic. God Bless them all.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 10 November 2018
Smoke over the town of Paradise could be seen from miles away, barely allowing the sun to pass. After the passage of the flames, several cars were reduced to metal housings, while the electric lines also fed the fire.
The majority of the inhabitants managed to escape from the danger, although the police told AFP that some farmers returned to check on their livestock.”The scale of the destruction we’ve seen is incredible and heartbreaking,” said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the state government’s emergency office. Governor-elect Gavin Newson declared a state of emergency to provide assistance to the most affected areas.
The fire called Camp Fire, the most destructive of which is recorded in the state began on Thursday morning. As of Saturday morning, it had razed 40,500 hectares and was barely contained by 20%, the California Fire Department reported, estimating that it would take three weeks to fully control the advance of the flames.
Some 3,200 firefighters are working to contain the fire, and three of them have been injured. Although an official cause of the origin of the fire has not been established yet, according to local newspaper Sacramento Bee, those responsible for the local electricity supply informed the state authorities that there was a power outage near the place where the fire originated.
Trump, meanwhile, had accused in a tweet a little earlier the local authorities of poor forest management that causes fires.”There is no reason for these massive and deadly fires in California, except that forest management is very bad,” he wrote.”Every year billions of dollars are granted, with so many lives lost, all because of poor forest management, remedy that or there will be no more federal money,” he threatened.
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 10 November 2018
Two other fires are registered in southern California, one in Ventura County, near Thousand Oaks, where a former soldier opened fire in a bar on Wednesday leaving 12 dead before committing suicide. There, authorities said that an evacuation order had been given to some 200,000 people.
The Ventura County Fire Department said the “Woolsey” fire has already razed nearly 28,000 hectares and destroyed at least 150 homes. As reported, they have not yet managed to contain it. Evacuation orders were issued for some 88,000 homes in Ventura and neighboring Los Angeles County.”We practically had just enough time to put the dogs in the trunk,” said Patrick Henry, a resident of Malibu, one of the locations most sought after by stars seeking luxury and privacy.
Celebrities Alyssa Milano and Kim Kardashian had to evacuate their homes. “I heard that the flames affected our property and our house in Hidden Hills, but now they are more contained,” Kardashian said on Twitter. The flames destroyed Paramount Ranch, where westerns are filmed, including HBO’s Westworld, officials said.
Oscar-winning Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro reported on Twitter that Bleak House, his museum that contains a collection of horror film objects, was also evacuated for being on the road to the flames.
According to local officials, the destruction has reached hundreds of homes, a hospital, a gas station, several restaurants and numerous vehicles. A total of 52,000 people were evacuated from the area. “The whole lower part of Paradise is totally engulfed in flames, ” Kevin Winstead, a resident of the nearby town of Magalia, told local television KIEM TV. “There will not be a single house standing.” The weather service said on Saturday that strong winds and dry conditions, which complicate the outlook will remain over the weekend.