The “Camp Fire” is the name of the wildfire that started in California on November 9 and became the deadliest wildfire in California history. Located on Butte County, it has left 11 people missing, has taken 85 lives (that are known) and has injured three of the fire fighters who put their lives on the line to stop this monster. The fire ripped through 153,336 acres, and burnt 18,886 structures to a crisp, 14,243 of which were homes. It took over two weeks for the fires to be contained.
The last big fire in California was the Thomas Fire that burned across 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara, which destroyed 1063 structures and killed 23 people. Although the Camp Fire affected a smaller area, it has been much more destructive, with 11 times the structures destroyed and 8 times the people killed, becoming the most destructive fire in California history.
Occurring at the same time as the Camp Fire, the Woolsey Fire took the lives of 3 people. It burned 96,949 acres of Los Angeles County and Ventura County before being contained. There have been 1,643 structures that have been destroyed and 364 damaged.
The air quality of California plummeted drastically during the fires. Airplanes lowered prices so that Californians could leave the state until the fire was over.
Meanwhile others arrived in an attempt to help in any way they could. Many donated money to supply the firemen and paramedics. California residents that didn’t have anywhere to go have stayed in Walmarts and Mortar stores, and there are people living in their cars because hotels and motels are all booked up. Butte County Housing Authority Executive Director Ed Mayer said “We just had 10% of our county’s housing stock erased in one day; it’s hard to convey the significance of that.”
Celebrities have also been affected by the fires. Kanye West’s $50 million mansion was only meters away from the Woolsey fire and would probably be in ashes if the Wests didn’t hire private firefighters. When the firefighters got a bit of time to spare, they started digging ditches around the expensive neighborhood to prevent more danger.
Storms that brought rain to Northern California helped to contain the fire but also created mudslides and flash floods due to the lost trees and vegetation. This also creates problems for those searching for human remains, especially since when ash comes in contact with water, it turns into cement-like mixture which can make it hard to do their job. It also creates problems for DNA testing. When the flood warnings arrived, people who has been living in parking lots were told that they all would have to move again, to avoid the danger of the flood.
All told, the two wildfires that have taken 88 lives statewide and have obliterated the town of Paradise. This is an event that will live in the memory of Californians and the nation for a long time.