The California Wildfires Have Already Claimed 31 Lives and Displaced 150,000 People

“Our job is to put the fire out and we couldn’t stop that. There was nothing we could do.”

Mason Trinca for The Washington Post via Getty Images

This story was originally published by the Guardian and appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The Camp Fire in northern California has become the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history, incinerating the town of Paradise, and displacing more than 50,000 people, as other blazes continued to rage further south.

At least 29 people have been killed in the Camp fire, making in one of the most deadly in California’s history. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Monday the Camp fire had grown by three sq miles to 177 square miles and was 25 percent contained.

Two people have also died in the Woolsey fire, a major blaze around Los Angeles, bringing total deaths in the state to 31.

On Monday officials said the Woolsey fire had burned 91,572 acres and destroyed 370 structures. It was 20 percent contained. On Sunday evening, some neighborhoods allowed evacuees back in and the US 101 highway west of LA was reopened.

Statewide, 150,000 people have been displaced and more than 8,000 fire crews are deployed. Authorities have said 228 people are unaccounted for.

High winds and dry conditions threaten more areas through the rest of the week, fire officials warned.

Around Paradise, about 1,300 people have found refuge at evacuation shelters, according to a Cal Fire spokesman, Steve Kaufman, a total which includes several shelters in Butte county and some in Sutter, Glenn and Plumas counties. But that’s only a fraction of the total displaced from Paradise, Magalia, Concow and other towns in the Sierra foothills.