California "Camp Fire" Deadliest, Most Destructive In State History As Death Toll Hits 42

Northern California's Camp Fire burning near Chico is not only the state's most destructive, it is also California's deadliest in state history. A total of 42 people have died in the blaze - one of two major wildfires burning throughout California with a combined death toll of 44. 

The Camp Fire's death toll has grown in staggering leaps. The first notice came on Thursday, when investigators found the remains of five people in Paradise who were apparently trapped in their cars by the blaze. Four more were found on Friday, and 20 more over the weekend. -NPR

The Camp Fire in Butte County about 80 miles north of Sacramento grew to 125,000 acres overnight, up from 117,000, and has destroyed over 6,500 structures. It is just 30% contained

Source: Sentinel-2 satellite

"This is an unprecedented event," said Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea on Monday night. "If you've been up there, you also know the magnitude of the scene we're dealing with. I want to recover as many remains as we possibly can, as soon as we can. Because I know the toll it takes on loved ones." 

President Trump has approved an expedited disaster declaration request for the California fires, stating in a tweet that he wanted "to respond quickly in order to alleviate some of the incredible suffering going on," adding "I am with you all the way. God Bless all of the victims and families affected."

The Camp Fire started last Thursday morning, storming through Paradise CA and leaving utter devastation in its wake.  

"Last night firefighters continued to hold established containment lines," CalFire said in a Tuesday update, adding that firefighters had "worked aggressively" to safeguard structures in harms way. That said, dry conditions and steep terrain are expected to continue to pose a challenge. 

More than 50,000 people have fled the Camp blaze, according to member station KQED. And even at a distance, the fire is posing health concerns: "Air quality throughout the Bay Area remains in the 'unhealthy' zone, according to federal measurements," KQED reports, adding that the conditions should persist through Friday. -NPR

Meanwhile, the Woolsey Fire in the Southern California Malibu region has destroyed over 95,000 acres, destroyed 435 structures and claimed 2 lives. It is 35% contained. 

An air tanker drops water on a fire along the Ronald Reagan Freeway in Simi Valley, Calif.
Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP

"We've got 60 to 70 mph offshore Santa Ana winds blowing for the next several days and those are just deadly," said CalFire Chief Ken Pimlott to NPR

Molten aluminum flowed from a car that burned in front of one of at least 20 homes destroyed just on Windermere Drive in the Point Dume area of Malibu, California, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.Reed Saxon / AP

The cause of the fires remain unknown, however two electric utility companies reported service issues just minutes before the two blazes began.