Paradise Nearly Entirely Engulfed by Raging Flames
MATHER, Calif - November 12, 2018
The death toll from wildfires ravaging on both ends of California has risen to at least 31 after the remains of several more people were found on Sunday.
At this moment, three major wildfires are raging, and the Camp Fire in Butte County is already officially the most destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of firefighters are desperately trying to contain the fires that have killed at least 31 people, destroyed thousands of homes, and forced 250,000 to flee, but they haven’t had much success.
More than 6,700 structures have already been destroyed, and that shatters the all-time record that was set just last year. In fact, five of the ten most destructive wildfires in California history have occurred within the last two years. Authorities are warning that “devil winds” of up to 40 miles per hour could accelerate this crisis in the early morning hours of Monday.
More than 200 people are still missing after the wildfire decimated the town of Paradise of about 27,000 people. But that number is expected to increase because there are at least 228 people that are unaccounted for right now. Most of the dead are from Paradise and it will be some time before we know the full number of casualties.
President Trump blamed the California authorities. In a tweet on Saturday he argued: “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!”
California Gov. Jerry Brown is now seeking a “major disaster declaration” from the White House to bolster the emergency response to three catastrophic wildfires. Asked to respond to the President's tweet on Sunday, Brown called California's recent battles with massive wildfires “the new abnormal.” He added: “Scientists and the engineers and the firefighters all tell us forest management is one element” to control them, but warned governments must address “a whole range of actions” to address a problem he said may cost billions of dollars to tackle.
“Managing all the forests everywhere we can does not stop climate change — and those that deny that are definitely contributing to the tragedy,” Brown said. “The chickens are coming home to roost. This is real here.” He advised that governments and officials need to be “pulling together in these tragic circumstances and thinking wisely,” while being “collaborative.”
Our planet is changing, and natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more intense. Despite all of our advanced technology, we are still very much at the mercy of these natural disasters, and this is yet another reminder of how precious life really is.