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.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate