Robin Blassberg Staff Writer
On Nov. 25, 2018, Camp Fire, the most destructive and deadly fire in the history of California, was 100% contained, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Camp Fire started in Pulga, a small community in Butte County of northern California, on Nov. 8, leaving catastrophic results. The flames then kept moving and completely overtook Paradise, a larger town with a population of 27,000. Most of Paradise is now demolished due to the fire. 13,792 homes and 528 commercial buildings were destroyed and at least 85 lives were lost. While initially at least 1,000 people were unaccounted for, as of Dec. 6 the number missing has dropped to 11, according to the Butte County Sherriff’s Office.
In their coverage of Camp Fire, ABC News interviewed Melissa Schuster, a member of the town council of Paradise. Schuster, whose home is now completely leveled, remarked that her “entire five-member council is homeless” and “all of our houses have been destroyed.” As of Nov. 25, officials are still searching for those missing, and have reported that “the remains of some of the missing may never be recovered due to the severity of the fire.” The chief of strategic planning expects the death toll to rise. While becoming emotional, Schuster claimed that “the number of fatalities is [among] things that we don’t know at this moment and that’s something that has to be determined before people can move back in.”
In addition to Camp Fire decimating large parts of Northern California, Woolsey Fire in Southern California also destroyed much in its path. Woolsey Fire first ignited in Ventura County and soon after spread throughout Los Angeles County. Among the most affected populations were the towns of Malibu and Calabasas, popular spots for celebrity residences. Officials had ordered the entire town of Malibu to evacuate due to their prediction that the flames may spread to the Pacific Ocean. Over 96,949 acres and 1,500 structures were decimated in Southern California. According to the California Department of Forestry, the fire was contained Wednesday, Nov. 21 after it had killed 3 people.
The wildfires also forced two hospitals and at least eight other health facilities to evacuate, resulting in U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, to declare a public health emergency. The residual smoke from the fires also resulted in harsh air conditions in several major cities, posing a threat for those with respiratory issues.
To help those affected by the deadly fires, many organizations are seeking help in their recovery efforts. Organizations such as GoFundMe, Facebook, the Wildlife Fighter Foundation, and the Haven Humane Society are looking for assistance and donations that include food, money, and resources that may have been lost.