Around 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 8, the devastating Camp Fire began in Butte County, California. On its rampage, the fire destroyed over more than 150,000 acres, and only reached a containment level of 100 percent on Nov. 25, a little over two weeks after its start, according to Cal Fire. Officials have searched all burned edifices and as of print time on Dec. 14, the death toll was 88 and the list of missing persons was 25, decreasing immensely from initial numbers of over 1,000. After two weeks of complete demolition, it has been deemed the most destructive fire in California’s history.
Final containment came after about seven inches of rain over a three-day stretch around the Butte County area, according to ABC 7 News. Rainfall initially proved to be a relief, though quickly threatened the impacted area with flooding. The fire has destroyed 13,696 single residence homes according to Cal Fire’s estimates, and displaced thousands days before Thanksgiving.
Thousands of single resident homes, such as the the home pictured above, were burnt beyond repair by the Camp Fire. (Photo by Lily Baldwin)
The Camp Fire marks the continuance of increased fire activity throughout California in recent years. Only last year, the Tubbs Fire hit Sonoma County, and according to a 2018 report by the California Environmental Protection Agency, a rise in the average global temperature as well as frequency of hot days and nights are contributors to droughts and fires, which have increased in the past few decades. Additionally, the Ranch Fire in Lake, Colusa, Glenn and Mendocino counties began in late July of this year and destroyed over 400,000 acres of land. Both recent fires represent the increasing occurrence of large-scale dangerous fires around California in the last two years.
Though the cause of the fire is still unknown, many news sources including the New York Times are suggesting it is related to human activity. Both CNN and Fox News wrote about the possibility of electrical companies being at fault for the fire as well.
Infographic by Emily Sweet