Advertisement

Paradise again threatened as deadly fires push toward towns gutted by 2018 inferno

November 2018 photo of Paradise High School. The town is once again under an evacuation warning for the North Complex fire.
A November 2018 photo of Paradise High School. The Northern California town is once again under an evacuation warning from the North Complex fire.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Two years after being decimated by the worst blaze in California history, the town of Paradise was again under threat, this time from the deadly North Complex fire.

Butte County sheriff’s officials issued an evacuation order for Pulga and Concow and an evacuation warning for the town of Paradise, which was mostly destroyed in the 2018 Camp fire that resulted in 85 deaths and the loss of more than 18,000 structures.

Winds were gusting more than 70 mph Sunday night, creating the same dangerous conditions that sparked the 2018 Paradise firestorm. It was unclear as of Monday morning whether any more structures had burned.

The North Complex fire ranks among the biggest and most deadly fires the state has seen, killing 15 people. Only four California fires have killed more people.

Advertisement

At more than 305,000 acres, the fire is the fifth-largest recorded in the state. It has also destroyed the sixth-highest number of structures of any fire — 1,784, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

It destroyed the town of Berry Creek, where most of the deaths occurred.

Authorities released the name of the 15th victim Friday.

Advertisement

The body of Linda Longenbach, a 71-year-old Berry Creek resident, was located on Handkirk Lane on Sept. 10, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office.

Both she and another previously identified victim — 68-year-old Paul Winer of Berry Creek — were found in the roadway.

One of them was inside a vehicle, and the other was approximately 10 feet away from an ATV, authorities said, though they didn’t specify who was where.

Some of the 15 victims tried to hide and others were unable to outrun the flames in one of the deadliest and most expansive blazes in California history.

Advertisement

Authorities had previously identified the other fire victims as: Larry Holder, 61; Suzan Zurz, 76; Mark Delagardie, 61; Kin Lee, 64; Jacob Albright, 74; Randy Harrell, 67; John Butler, 79; Sandra Butler, 75; Jorge Hernandez-Juarez, 26; Philip Rubel, 68; Khawar Bhatti, 58; Millicent Catarancuic, 77; and Josiah Williams, 16.

In Shasta County, strong winds were also reported Monday, threatening to further fuel a fast-moving wildfire that ignited Sunday afternoon near the rural community of Igo, about nine miles southwest of Redding. The blaze grew from 50 acres to 400 acres in about a half-hour, according to Cal Fire, prompting evacuation orders and sending up a massive plume of smoke.

Named the Zogg fire, it had swelled to 15,000 acres by Monday morning.


Advertisement