Across Butte County — a primarily agricultural area known for its walnut, almond and rice farms — towns are struggling to absorb the roughly 50,000 people displaced by the Camp fire. Through no fault of their own, the evacuees’ arrival has worsened the state’s housing crisis and raised the possibility that they could be evicted from the region again, not by fire but by a scarcity of suitable dwellings.
Hotels and motels from Sacramento to Redding are full. The vacancy rate in the rental market, which hovered around 3% before the fire, has fallen to near zero. Unable to find single-family homes in the area, evacuees have resorted to renting individual bedrooms, buying recreational vehicles and purchasing travel trailers. Others are simply leaving California for other Western states with a lower cost of living.
The worst fire in California history reached full containment Sunday morning, a milestone for a catastrophic inferno that killed at least 85 people with nearly 250 people still missing weeks later.
The Camp fire is now 100% contained, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Sunday, after burning nearly 14,000 homes and consuming 153,000 acres in and around Paradise in Butte County.
Much of Paradise was lost in the fire, and search and rescue crews will continue looking through the ruins for more victims.
As this region still reels from the worst fire in California history, educators are faced with the challenging task of reopening schools even as the firefighters continue their work and searchers scour the area for more victims.
They are working to identify replacement classroom space for schools that were burned to ashes during the fire.
Paradise Unified School District was hardest hit, with multiple school buildings lost to the fires. Charter schools in the area also suffered.
In Malibu, some residents who evacuated from the Woolsey fire were still waiting to return home as officials worked to restore utilities and road access. That fire, which charred 96,949 acres and destroyed 1,643 structures, is 100% contained. Three people were killed.
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Pono Barnes. “Strike teams are in the area helping residents repopulate.”
Firefighters’ biggest job Friday was working with Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Co., Barnes said.
The grim search for victims continued in Paradise on Saturday amid the rain.
Times photographer Gina Ferazzi was struck by the image of an abandoned wheelchair and gurney in front of the destroyed Cypress Meadows post-acute medical facility.
“The rain is making the devastation in Paradise even more eerie and sad,” she wrote.
The rain is making the devastation in Paradise even more eerie and sad as abandoned wheelchairs and gurney still remain in front of the destroyed Cypress Meadows facility while search teams sift through ashes looking for human remains #CampFirepic.twitter.com/AyeD9io9FU
A new federal report found that climate change is taking an increasing toll on communities across the United States. It projects widespread and growing devastation as increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, worsening wildfires, more intense storms and other cascading effects harm our ecosystems, infrastructure and society.
Among the findings: The area burned across the western U.S. from 1984 to 2015 was twice what it would have been if climate change had not occurred, according to analyses cited in the report.
“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities,” the report says. “But the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur.”
With many of their homes damaged or destroyed in the state’s most devastating wildfire on record, the students of Paradise High School face an uncertain future.
On Tuesday, a man they have never met from a city more than 500 miles away will give them a gift he hopes will provide at least a small measure of security, support and comfort in a dark hour.
Rancho Santa Fe businessman Bob Wilson plans to personally deliver a $1,000 check to each of the school’s 980 students and 105 employees in Chico at a venue that has yet to be determined. That’s a total of $1 million for the wildfire victims to use as they see fit, no strings attached.
Firefighters battling California’s deadliest fire on record continued to make progress Friday, with containment growing to 95% and the number of homes burned at nearly 14,000.
The Camp fire has scorched more than 153,000 acres and killed at least 84 people in Butte County, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials. But hundreds of residents are still missing, and thousands more have been displaced by the massive blaze.
The death toll from the Camp fire rose by one Thursday to 84, on a day when rain seemed to halt further growth of the state’s deadliest blaze.
By Thursday evening, the Jarbo Gap, where the fire probably started, had received just over an inch of rain in the preceding 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service. Rain totals varied across the region.