Gridley: A Northern California wildfire that destroyed a foothill hamlet has become the state’s deadliest blaze of the year with 10 people confirmed dead — and the toll could climb as searchers look for 16 missing people.
Authorities said that the combined fire in the north, which exploded in the wind and fire earlier this week, was moving more slowly after the wind weakened and the smoke from the fire covered the area and lowered the temperature, allowing firefighters to make progress. However, heavy smoke and fire-fighting helicopters were unable to fly on Thursday due to poor visibility.
In most parts of the state, red flag warnings for serious fire hazards caused by hot, dry weather or high winds have been cancelled.
Just a day or two ago, the fire in the northern complex quickly burned through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, so that the firefighters were almost swallowed. The locals fled their lives and fled to a pond, and Berry, with a population of 525 The town of Brook was destroyed.
On Thursday, Butte County Sheriff Captain Derek Bell said that seven bodies were found, bringing the total to 10 in two days. At least four people were hospitalized with severe burns.
Bell said that while entering the devastating area with a team of anthropologists from Chico State University, representatives and detectives were looking for the remains.
The Sacramento Bee reported burned and dumped cars, collapsed power lines, and ruins of buildings all over Berry Creek and its surrounding area. There were three dead dogs in a hatchback found on a dirt road, and the remnants of a guitar case and the CD on the bed melted on a pickup truck.
A few weeks ago, a lightning fire broke out in the northeast of San Francisco and began to burn more than 2,000 houses and other buildings. The final cost is expected to be higher. The damage assessment team plans to begin an orderly search of the burning area on Friday.
Among the missing are Sandy Butler and her husband. They called their son and said they would try to escape the flames by finding shelter in the pond.
“We’re still hoping and praying for good news,” said Jessica Fallon, who has two children with the Butler’s grandson and considers them her own grandparents. “Everything is replaceable, but not my grandparents’ lives. I’d rather lose everything than those two. They kind of held the family together.”
Fallon said she had been calling the hospital to look for her grandparents. They didn’t say a word late Thursday night.
The speed and ferocity of the fire shocked observers, and even those who only remembered the fire two years ago were killed. The fire killed about 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise a few miles from the current fire.
On Wednesday, in the ashes and red sky, residents blocked the main road outside the city. The authorities lifted the evacuation warning for Paradise on Thursday, but the authorities urge people to stay vigilant.
On Wednesday, as the wind shifted, the staff fighting the fire were extinguished by the fire. After the emergency shelter was deployed, its members escaped with only minor injuries. This is the second time that firefighters who have been to California in two days have had to make a rare last effort to save lives.
The fire is one of 29 major wildfires from the border of Oregon to northern Mexico. So far this year, more than 4,800 square miles (12,500 square kilometers) of land have been burned, which is larger than the sum of Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., and autumn is usually the season of the worst fires. A total of 19 people were killed in California and at least 4,000 buildings were burned down.
“This is a historic season, it replaces the historic season. We just continue to set new precedents, and then we continue to destroy them.”
The smoke blows into the vineyards of Wine Country north of San Francisco and rises to the scenic Big Sur on the Central Coast, as well as the foothills and mountains of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego counties in the southern part of the state.
White House spokesperson Judd Deere said that President Donald Trump and Governor Gavin Newsom expressed “sorrow for the loss of life and reiterated the government’s full support for helping frontline personnel in the fire. .”
Neighboring Oregon and Washington were also besieged.
This week, Oregon burned 1,400 square miles (3,625 square kilometers), and it continued to be hot and windy. Authorities said more than 500,000 people (more than 10% of the state’s population) were forced to evacuate.
The wildfires in Washington scorched nearly 937 square miles (2,426 kilometers).