Firefighters battling the Camp fire in Northern California boosted containment of the massive blaze overnight to 45%, though the inferno continued to expand its footprint.
The blaze has charred 142,000 acres in Butte County as of Friday morning, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials.
The blaze, which is the deadliest and most destructive in California history, has killed at least 63 people and destroyed more than 9,800 homes in more than a week. The number of people missing in the fire jumped Thursday to 631.
The number of structures destroyed in the massive Woolsey fire climbed to 616 on Friday as firefighters continued to make progress in controlling the blaze overnight.
The fire’s footprint, which has not grown since late Wednesday, is at 98,362 acres and firefighters increased containment to 69% overnight, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials said Friday.
Calmer conditions Thursday after strong winds battered the region and fanned the flames for three consecutive days gave crews a welcome opening. Officials said Thursday would be a turning point in the fight.
Air quality in the Sacramento Valley remained grim Thursday because of smoke from the massive Camp fire.
Smoke has been pouring into the Sacramento area since the blaze in Paradise, Calif., north of the capital, began. It has pushed the region’s air quality into the unhealthy zone on the Environmental Protection Agency’s index.
That means people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outside, while everyone else should reduce outdoor activities.
California issues warning about air quality. A major health concern regarding the Camp fire is Carbon Monoxide exposure. The maximum exposure rate is 9 ppm for a 8 hour exposure "once" a year. Sacramento current first image 2.25 ppm. 2nd image 33 hours earlier 2.66 ppm. pic.twitter.com/ni3Odn6OHN
Residents waited along the road, their trucks and SUVs parked in the dirt near the hillside. The faint smell of smoke lingered in the air.
Ali Reza Ahmadian, 34, was trying to get supplies to his father and sister, who live across the street from Zuma Beach. The downtown Los Angeles resident had been able to get food and water to his dad this week, but he couldn’t get through Thursday.
“They were letting people with local driver’s licenses in,” he said. “Then they had escorts. Now it’s a hard shutdown.”
Bipartisanship reigned Thursday as Gov. Jerry Brown and Trump administration officials toured the devastation in the Woolsey fire zone and officials prepared for President Trump’s visit to Paradise, Calif., on Saturday.
A few days ago, the president was criticized for a recent tweet that incorrectly stated the fires were the result of poor forest management. The tweet also threatened to cut off funding to California. Trump since has spoken to Brown, saying he was “completely behind California.”
Brown met with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and state fire officials in Camarillo.
When Phoebe Scott saw Thunder, Luke and Gidget in a Los Angeles Times photograph last week, she was alarmed by the image’s apocalyptic and bleak appearance.
It didn’t look like that, she said, when she left the two alpacas and horse at Zuma Beach to find shelter for other animals, including five goats waiting for her in her Mini Cooper.
Scott, a board member for the nonprofit Big Heart Ranch, immediately began thinking about how she could use the photo to locate the alpacas and horse, just three of the 66 therapy animals evacuated Friday from the Malibu property.
She thought the photo couldn’t have been snapped much longer after she had left because she had taken a photograph on her phone of a distressed owl on the sandy beach. It appeared to be the same owl that Los Angeles Times photographer Wally Skalij snapped just an hour before finding the alpacas tied to the lifeguard stand.
Skalij said he was drawn to the area when he saw horses on the beach, and then the unusual sight of the owl.