WeatherFire Watch


Death toll rises to 29 in Camp Fire

Posted at 6:27 PM, Nov 11, 2018

UPDATE (6:19 p.m.) – The Butte County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed an additional 6 people have been found dead because of the Camp Fire, bringing the death toll to 29. Search and rescue teams expect that number to grow as they search the area.

Firefighters said the fire has grown to 110,000  acres and is still 20 percent contained.

Firefighters are expecting strong, gusty winds to pus hthe fire overnight. Paradise has not seen one half-inch of rain in 210 days.


UPDATE (4:50 p.m.) – Firefighters have identified several public safety hazards in burned areas of Paradise after a massive wildfire ripped through the area.

Crews are upholding evacuation orders as downed power lines and toxic debris make for unsafe conditions. A press briefing is being provided at 6 p.m.

UPDATE (11:35 a.m.) – The Camp Fire is being called the third-deadliest wildfire in California History.

As of Sunday morning, the death toll remained at 23 with 110 people still reported missing. Butte County Sheriff’s Deputies said they hope to make contact with some of those people as they day goes on.

Firefighters described finding thousands of people in burning cars and buildings Thursday night when the fire made its initial run.

They are still working to increase containment before winds pick up later Sunday and into the week.

The fire is currently standing at 109,000 acres with 25% containment.

Tweets by CALFIRE_ButteCo

Saturday night, they held a community meeting for people displaced or missing loved-ones because of the fire. A full recording of that meeting can be found here:

Camp Fire 11.10.18 Community Meeting at Laxton Auditorium, Chico State campus. #CampFire

Posted by CAL FIRE/Butte County on Saturday, November 10, 2018

UPDATE (6:10 p.m.) – The Camp Fire has now grown to 105,000 acres according to Cal Fire officials. The death toll has now risen to 23.

At an evening news conference, Cal Fire officials say they were forced to issue new evacuations today in the Big Bend area due to extreme fire behavior. Unfortunately, a Red Flag warning was issued for the region Saturday night through Monday morning.

While as assessment team is in the field working to get a more accurate numbers, right now they are an estimated 6,453 homes and 260 commercial buildings destroyed. The fire grew an estimated 5,000 acres on Saturday during light wind conditions. The fire is 20% contained.

So far, 23 fatalities are confirmed in this fire, 14 more bodies were discovered in cars, in houses and out in the open on Saturday, three days after the fire broke out. Sheriff’s deputies were able to recover some remains from at least five homes as they continue to canvassing for the missing.

The Camp Fire is the third-deadliest fire and the most destructive fire in California history. The cost to fight this fire is more than 8 million dollars, according to Cal Fire.

The Sheriff’s department has received 508 calls for missing. The majority of those calls have been resolved but 110 calls remain outstanding at 6 p.m. The sheriff’s department stressed there may not be 110 missing but they are investigating to get an accurate number of those still unaccounted for at this time. 70 persons who were previously reported missing have been found safe.

52,000 residents remain under evacuation orders. A lull in the winds during the day on Saturday gave firefighters a small break but as the winds are expect to pick up tonight, Cal Fire is bringing in additional resources to work to re-enforce fire lines already cut and build new ones.

At this time, there is no eminent threat to residents in the city of Oroville. “But It is imperative resident remain vigilant as weather conditions can change fire threats at any time,” said the Butte sheriff.

The Sheriff’s department says it has received 53 reports of looting. Several arrests were made in the area, one for assault with a deadly weapon and one for an outstanding warrant.

UPDATE (5:40 p.m.) — Sheriff’s deputies have recovered human remains from at least five homes as they went house-to-house in the Northern California city of Paradise canvassing for the missing.

Teams of deputies worked with cadaver crews Saturday to sift through the rubble of burned homes. It was unclear if the remains found Saturday were in addition to the nine fatalities already reported by the Butte County Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff’s department did not immediately return a phone call seeking more information. Officials were expected to give a briefing Saturday evening at 6 p.m. with the latest figures.

Paradise, with a population of 27,000, was destroyed by the fire.

UPDATE (5:14 p.m.) – When the fire broke out in Paradise, state Fish and Wildlife warden Jake Olsen was one of many law enforcement agents who rushed to a retirement home to evacuate the infirm. He crammed three patients into his pickup, and his partner rode under a fire blanket in the bed with a fourth patient.

Meanwhile, the Paradise home where he and and his wife and four children lived burned to the ground. So did Olsen’s parents. And his wife’s parents’ home is gone, too. His sister-in-law’s Paradise home was also destroyed.

On Saturday, his colleague helped him sift through the rubble and found his wife’s wedding ring.

A few minutes later, she called to check in and he tearfully told her the good news.

‘It’s something,” he said with a sad smile.

His wife told Olsen where she left her ring in their bedroom, and that’s where it was found next to his gun locker containing guns melted in the fire.

A news conference will be held at 6 p.m. for the latest information. As of this morning, 100,000 acres destroyed in Camp Fire, 6,500 structures and 9 fatalies.

UPDATE (4:10 P.M.) – Marilyn Pelletier told NBC News she got a knock on her door in Paradise and had five minutes to leave. She grabbed her medicine bag and her small dog, and when she left “the whole sky was pink.”

“You could see the fire coming,” she said. “It was devastating. It’s horrible. The worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was just — I’m grateful I got out with my life.”

Pelletier moved to Paradise two years ago after her husband passed away, and bought a house in the town which was destroyed in the fire, she said. “It’s a beautiful home — it was. It was real pretty,” Pelletier said. “I’m devastated. I’m heartbroken, I’m alone, I’m scared.”

The town of Paradise, population 26,000, north of Sacramento was devastated, with the town’s mayor estimating that 80 to 90 percent of homes have been destroyed.

UPDATE (3:38 p.m.) – High winds will be the concern tonight as thousands of firefighters work to get the Camp Fire under control. As of Saturday morning, only 20% of the fire is contained. A news conference with the latest information is expected tonight at 6 p.m.

Some residents are returning to find utter devastation.

Jan McGregor returned to his small two-bedroom home in Paradise on Saturday with the help of his firefighter grandson, who escorted him past roadblocks.

The 81-year-old McGregor found his home leveled and three of his cars burned down to the frames.

The fire was not a complete surprise to McGregor, who has lived in this heavily forested town since infancy.

He says “we knew it was coming. We didn’t know when.”

McGregor has lived in Paradise for 80 years after moving here as an infant in 1939, when the town had just 3,000 people and was nicknamed Poverty Ridge. He said it was unlikely he would rebuild, even though he has insurance, and is considering moving out of state to live with other family members.

He adds “I have nothing here to go back to.”

More than 50,000 people have been displaced by the blaze that has killed at least nine people and devastated the town of Paradise, where all 27,000 residents were ordered to evacuate.

UPDATE (1:30 p.m.) – Authorities have arrested two people who were caught looting in an evacuated neighborhood of Paradise, which has been nearly destroyed by the Camp Fire.

Police said two men were arrested trying to access a property. They were wearing U.S.  Forest Service jackets. Saturday, firefighters issued a statement saying all looters found in evacuated wildfire areas will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

UPDATE (12:20 p.m.) – CAL FIRE is expanding evacuations because of the Camp Fire. In a press release issued Saturday morning. Firefighters began evacuating residents toward Chico.

Dozens of thousands of residents are under evacuation orders because of the Camp Fire. There have been 9 reported fatalities but firefighters expect that number to grow as they search damaged areas.


UPDATE (11:40 a.m.) – People are taking to social media to show the scope of the damage caused by the Camp Fire.

As of the last update, the fire has destroyed more than 6,700 structures. Most of those destroyed are homes.

President Trump took to Twitter early Saturday morning to address California Wildfires. He threatened to take away federal funding unless California officials deal with wildfire danger immediately.


(AP/KSBY) – The Camp Fire in Northern California has grown to 100,000 acres and is now 20 percent contained, fire officials reported Saturday morning.

It is now said to be the most destructive blaze in California History and is being attributed to at least nine deaths.

Pacific Gas & Electric Company told state regulators Thursday that it experienced a problem on an electrical transmission line near the site of the blaze minutes before the fire broke out that morning in Butte County. The company said it later observed damage to a transmission tower on the line.

PG&E spokeswoman Lynsey Paulo said Friday the information was preliminary and stressed that the cause of the fire has not been determined.

The utility company says it will cooperate with any investigations stemming from the fire.

The fire has killed at least nine people and destroyed more than 6,700 structures destroyed, many of them homes. Three firefighters have also been injured. Dozens of people are still missing.

The blaze forced the evacuation of roughly 30,000 people in the town of Paradise, about 180 miles northeast of San Francisco. Fire officials said the town was nearly destroyed.

Strong winds are expected to return to the area Saturday evening.

An update on the Camp Fire and two other fires burning in Southern California is expected to come during a press briefing Saturday morning.