Camp Fire, California’s Deadliest Blaze, Now 100 Percent Contained
California’s deadliest blaze in history is now 100 percent contained after burning for more than two weeks. The Camp Fire destroyed thousands of homes, including most of the town of Paradise, and more than 153,000 acres of land. The deadly wildfire also claimed the lives of at least 85 people so far, with hundreds still missing and unaccounted for.
Fire and rescue crews continue to sift through the remains of areas scorched by the blaze, searching for human remains. Fire spokeswoman Jennifer Erickson said, “It’s certainly good to be done with the containment of this fire.” Many of the firefighting crews from the Sacramento and Folsom fire departments are just now returning home after nearly three weeks on the front lines of the fire.
#CampFire [final] Pulga Road at Camp Creek Road near Jarbo Gap (Butte County) is now 100% contained at 153,336 acres. Unified Command: @CALFIRE_ButteCo, @ButteSheriff, Paradise Police Department, and the USFS.https://t.co/CJkryyPNVZ pic.twitter.com/TjMmiLrRQQ
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) November 25, 2018
While the blaze has been reported by Cal Fire as being 100% contained, this does not mean the fire has been put out. Containment indicates that a fire line has been established along the entirety of the fire, effectively cutting it off from reaching any further fuel sources.
Now, due to heavy rains in Northern California, scorched areas are becoming increasingly susceptible to mudslides and flowing debris. While the heavy rains helped douse some areas of the fire, it is complicating the search for bodies, as crews comb the areas with dogs.
Firefighters are home in Sacramento after roughly 2 weeks fighting the #CampFire in Butte County. I’m talking with crews about their experience today. “It was unlike anything I’d ever seen,” Captain Rick Marrs with Sacramento Fire says. @FOX40 @SacFirePIO pic.twitter.com/1R97T38Qt0
— Jessica Mensch (@Jessmensch) November 25, 2018
Craig Covey of the Orange County Fire Authority told CNN affiliate KCRA: “One of the things that (rain) does do is, it does concentrate the scent into a smaller compartment because of all the ash that was flying around. It more compacts it, centralizes it and the dogs (looking for remains) can be very successful in that.” However, too much rainfall can also wash away remains or bury them in mud, making them more difficult to find.
As rescue crews continue to search for remains, there is still a heavy amount of debris clogging up roadways, making it impossible for residents to return to their homes and assess property damage. It is currently unknown when they will be able to return. Northern California is expected to receive several storms next week, with a stronger one on Thursday potentially bringing wind gusts up to 35 mph, which could knock down weakened trees. Bill Rasch, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento, says, “We’ll give [residents] an updated confidence on that as it gets closer,” adding that it’s likely the two storms will bring two to four inches of rainfall this week.