SACRAMENTO — It is being called the worst disaster in California’s history. The Camp Fire, which has destroyed more than 150,000 acres of land in mostly Butte County, began Thursday, November 8 at 6:33 a.m. Since then, more than 80 people have been confirmed dead while rescue workers and volunteers feverishly search for hundreds of missing people. More than 15,000 structures have been burned — including about 12,000 homes. About 46,000 people have been under evacuation orders for the last three weeks.
The town of Paradise — about 120 miles north of Sacramento — has literally been burned to the ground, creating a landscape unique to many search-and-rescue personnel. Every structure, every home and every car need to be checked for remains.
“We’ve never seen anything like this in California; we’ve never seen anything like this yet. It’s like total devastation,’’ said President Donald Trump who toured the area Nov. 17, joined by California’s outgoing and incoming governors Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom.
Soon after the fire began, Trump blamed state officials for poor forest management and threatened to cut off federal funding. However, following his visit, he pledged the full support of the federal government.
“He’s got our back,’’ outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.’’
While the fires have now been contained, the trouble area residents and recovery officials are currently faced with is flooding and potential mudslides from the downpour of rain.
The storm brought 1 1/2 inches of rain in an hour, toppling trees and trapping motorists in flooded roads downstream, said National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Shoemaker.
It is scheduled to rain most of this week, making things very difficult for those who have been displaced. Residents could begin returning early next week, but only if the storm doesn’t hinder efforts to clear roads and restore power, officials say.