California's Wildfires Are Now The Deadliest And Most Destructive In Its History


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockNov 13 2018, 17:57 UTC

California is no stranger to catastrophic wildfires. Here, we see the Canyon Fire in California on September 26, 2017. Aarti Kalyan/Shutterstock

Camp Fire has just become the deadliest wildfire in Calfornia’s history, after 13 more human remains were recovered in Northern California, bringing the death toll to at least 42. Hundreds of people remaining missing and 150,000 more are displaced from their homes.

“My sincere hope is that I don’t have to come here each night and report a higher and higher number,” Kory L Honea, Butte County Sheriff and Coroner, said at a news conference on Monday night.


Engulfing over 125,000 acres (and counting) of land and incinerating at least 7,177 buildings, most of which are homes, Camp Fire is also the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history as well.

Three main wildfires – Woolsey Fire, The Hill Fire outside Los Angeles, and the Camp Fire in northern California – continue wreak havoc across the state of California. Firefighters are hoping the worst of the destruction is behind them, however, considerable portions of the fires remain uncontrolled. As of Monday night, just 30 percent of Camp Fire was contained.


The spread of the fires has been relentless. Camp Fire, the largest of the wildfires by some margin, began to tear through California on Thursday, November 8, 2018. Fuelled by the sea breeze and strong winds blowing down the mountains, the flames managed to spread almost 10,000 acres in the space of its first day.

“We talk about how offshore flow (N-NE Wind) can bring warmer and drier conditions – here is a classic example of that,” the National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area explained on Twitter in regards to the Calfornia wildfires.


“SantaRosa airport had a low temp of 31 degs and once the offshore flow kicked in temps soared 30 degs. The humidity plummeted over 60%.”

Parched vegetation from unseasonably hot and dry weather has also allowed the fires to push throughout the state faster than expected. As a testament to the uncompromising spread of the flames, many of the dead were found inside the charred remains of their car, according to the Associated Press.


Much of the death and devastation has occurred in Paradise, a town of 26,000-odd residents in Butte County, California. Very little remains in the largest parts of the town, aside from blocks of burned out structures and two military-type morgue tents used by the search-and-recovery teams, as reported by the San Fransisco Chronicle.

"I had to drive through the fire – it was awful. It was probably the most awful experience I will have in my life," Sorrell Bobrink, a Paradise resident, told BBC World Service.

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