NEW YORK (Nov 17, 2018): Northern California sheriff said today more than 1,000 is now unaccounted for after the California camp fire, and that the list is being constantly updated.
The fire – the deadliest in the state’s history – has destroyed 142,000 acres (57,000 ha), including most of the town of Paradise, home to 27,000 people.
In total, some 47,000 people have been told to evacuate, with those who have fled the fire being housed in emergency shelters, as well as with friends and family, while others are camping.
Officials have warned the search operation could go on for weeks as the death toll rose from 63 on Friday, eight days after the Camp Fire broke out in northern California to 71 now.
Also, due to the wildfires raging in Northern California, San Francisco, Stockton and Sacramento were the world’s three “most polluted cities” on Friday morning, according to Berkeley Earth, a nonprofit that aggregates data from air-quality monitoring sites– it’s currently at 546 (Hazardous) on the Air Quality Index (AQI).
According to latest reports, President Donald Trump is traveling to California on today to survey the damage and meet those affected.
Earlier this week, Mr. Trump threatened to cut off federal payments to California in a post on Twitter.
“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!” Mr. Trump tweeted. He later approved a federal disaster declaration.
The California Fire Department said it has now contained about 50% of the Camp Fire blaze and efforts continue but they do not expect to fully contain the blaze until the end of the month.
They are also battling several other fires, including the Morgan Fire in Contra Costa County, near San Francisco, the Woolsey Fire in Ventura County near Los Angeles and the smaller Hill Fire, also in Ventura County.
Officials have not yet confirmed what started any of the blazes, as investigations are continuing. But several people have already filed a lawsuit against a local power company, alleging that the Camp Fire started when a high-voltage transmission line failed.
Trump criticized forest management in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” saying that while climate change “maybe contributes a bit,” the “big problem we have is management.”
The president incorrectly suggested that forest management in the state was largely controlled by the state’s government, when it’s the federal government that owns more than 60 percent of the land in the state.
According to Climate Nexus, climate change amplifies the threat of wildfires by creating ideal settings for them to burn. Climate change is affecting conditions in both our summers and winters in ways that contribute to wildfires.
Historically, California’s “wildfire season” started in summer and ran into early autumn – but experts have warned that the risk is now year-round.
Low humidity, warm winds, and dry ground after a rain-free month have produced a prime fire-spreading environment. Experts say lots of wind along with very dry vegetation turned the camp fire into a high-speed menace that tore through Paradise.
Environmentalists and the timber industry, after long butting heads, increasingly agree that cutting trees to thin forests is vital to reducing fire danger, according to The Washington Post’s latest report on the camp fire which started on Thursday, November 8 at 6:33 am.