- The death toll from the California wildfires had risen
to 44. Thirteen more bodies were recovered on Monday, the Butte
County sheriff said.
- The Camp Fire in northern California
destroyed an entire town in less than a day and has killed
at least 42 people, making it the deadliest fire in the state’s
history. Authorities said it was 30% contained Monday evening.
- The Woolsey, Hill, and Peak Fires are burning on the
outskirts of LA, and Woolsey alone has burned more than 140
- The flames are being fueled by dry, hot conditions and strong
- California wildfires are becoming so frequent and pervasive
that officials there say there’s almost no need for the term
“wildfire season” anymore.
Four dangerous wildfires are raging in California: the Camp Fire
in northern California has become the deadliest in state history,
and the Woolsey, Hill, and Peak fires are destroying homes and
businesses around LA.
The total death toll from the fires is up to 44, and it’s
expected to rise, officials told reporters on
The Camp Fire is responsible for
most of the fatalities: It has claimed at least 42 lives as it
burned through more than 117,000 acres of land. The flames have
moved at a breakneck pace since the
fire started Thursday morning. The blaze quickly charred the
entire town of Paradise, which was home to 27,000 people. More
than 6,400 homes and 260 businesses
have been destroyed so far, making the Camp Fire the most destructive wildfire in
California history in terms of structures lost.
The flames spread so fast — at a pace of 80 football fields per
minute — that at least six people burned to death in their
cars, the Butte County Sheriff’s Department said. Over the
weekend, the ground was still too hot for rescue dogs to
circulate, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Further south, in areas around Los Angeles, the Woolsey Fire killed two people
in a car, forced over 275,000 from their homes, and destroyed 370
structures. It has burned at least 91,000 acres of land, and was
20% contained Monday evening. The smaller Hill Fire charred over
4,531 acres and was 75% contained on Monday, when another fire,
which was quickly labeled the Peak Fire, broke out
nearby, scorching 75 acres. No evacuation orders were in place for
that fire, as firefighters battled flames near the 118
freeway, though a stretch of that road between
Yosemite and Topanga Canyon had to be shut down.
The fires around LA have also encircled the town of Thousand
Oaks, where residents were already reeling from a deadly mass
shooting in which 12 people were murdered.
“If you were affected by the Woolsey or Hill fires, the Thousand
Oaks mass shooting, or both, you can call the Disaster Distress
Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746 for
emotional support and resources,” the LA County website reads.
Three-quarters of Thousand Oaks residents are under mandatory
evacuation orders, according to the Associated Press. Resident
Cynthia Ball told the AP, “it’s like ‘welcome to hell.'”
Already this year, 7,578 fires have burned across
California, fueled by hot, dry conditions and aggressive
The Camp Fire has killed at least 42 people
The Camp Fire started about 6:30 a.m. on Thursday. Fire officials
told the Associated
Press on Sunday that 228 people were still unaccounted for.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the county is working with
anthropologists from California State University at Chico to help
identify bone fragments among ash in the area.
According to the Butte County sheriff’s office, five of the
people whose deaths have been confirmed were found near Edgewood
Lane in Paradise, California, in or near “vehicles that were
overcome by the Camp Fire.” The sheriff’s office was not yet able
to identify those victims because of their burn injuries.
“The fire was so close I could feel it in my car through rolled
up windows,” Rita Miller, who fled Paradise with her disabled
mother told the Associated Press.
Other residents ran from the fire on foot, the
Sacramento Bee reported.
Cal Fire issued red-flag warnings around the
state on Sunday, which means that conditions are dry and windy
enough to create what the firefighting agency calls “extreme fire
California Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom
declared a state of emergency in Butte County on Thursday and
sent a letter to President
Donald Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
asking for federal assistance.
President Trump approved some federal assistance
for the California fires on Friday, but then threatened via
Twitter over the weekend that there may be “no more Fed
payments!” unless California forests are better managed.
Trump later said he approved an “expedited request” for a Major
Disaster Declaration, which would provide federal assistance for
people affected, including allocating funds for emergency and
“Wanted to respond quickly in order to alleviate some of the
incredible suffering going on,” Trump said in a tweet on Monday.
“I am with you all the way. God Bless all of the victims and
The federal government oversees 40% of California
Smoke from the Camp Fire is now blanketing wide swaths of
Northern California in a gray haze. The Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) says the air throughout much of the San Francisco Bay
Area is “unhealthy” to breathe.
Federal air monitors have suggested that older adults,
children, teens, and people with heart and lung conditions should
limit their time outside because of the high number of dangerously small pollutants
in the air. Some people have donned masks to protect their lungs.
The Hill and Woolsey fires have burned over 95,000 acres in
Ventura and LA counties
The Woolsey Fire claimed its first two victims on Friday. Two
burned bodies were found in a “long, narrow” Malibu
driveway near Mulholland Highway, the Los Angeles County
Sheriff’s Department said.
The flames from the Woolsey Fire have also threatened the homes of
celebrities such as the Kardashian sisters and left a burned
shell where Gerard Butler’s home once
stood. At least 275,000 other people have
evacuated. As of Monday morning, Cal Fire estimated more than
370 structures had been destroyed. The flames in Southern
California have been fueled by hot, dry conditions and spread by
California’s Santa Ana winds, which tend to
blow in from the desert in the fall and early winter months from
September to November.
As the Woolsey Fire grew on Friday, the LA County fire department
wrote on Twitter: “Imminent threat!
Malibu lakes residents must leave area immediately.”
LA County Sheriff‘s Deputies
were knocking on doors there, telling everyone in the
star-studded beach town to get out.
Firefighters are racing to keep flames from charring people’s
homes, but as the LA Fire Department’s Eric Scott pointed
out on Twitter, some houses are better protected than others,
since green vegetation can help keep flames back.
The nearby Hill Fire is much smaller — it has burned 4,500 acres
in Ventura County. Mandatory evacuation orders are still
in place for people at the Point Mugu Naval Base and California
State University Channel Islands, among other areas.
On Friday morning, less than 24 hours after the two fires broke
out, acting Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los
Angeles and Ventura counties.
Wildfire “season,” in California used to run from late summer
through the fall, since autumn’s Santa Ana winds help blow flames
But as the planet heats up, unseasonably high temperatures and
drought conditions are becoming more common. So fire officials in
the state are succumbing to the idea that
fires may not be limited to any specific
Bryan Logan, Kelly McLaughlin, and David Choi contributed
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.