The deadliest wildfire in the history of California is finally 100 percent contained after killing at least 85 people and destroying the town of Paradise. There are still 249 people missing from the deadly blaze that began on Nov. 8 and burned through more than 153,000 acres and destroyed 14,000 homes. The number of people missing declined from the previous 475 as people were found in shelters or staying with friends and in hotels. Most of those who were found had no idea they were listed as missing, making officials optimistic those who are still on the list are actually safe and sound.
Full containment of the fire came earlier than expected as officials had first projected it for Nov. 30, but said that light rains in the area helped firefighters in the effort to put out the blaze. Now rescue workers will have to race against time and get as much done as possible before Tuesday, when up to five inches of rain is expected, which could derail searches amid concerns over possible flash floods and mudslides. “The fear is that the rain will drop in intense bursts,” Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the federal Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, said. “All the vegetation has burned away, and that’s a dangerous recipe for mudslides.”
The welcome news came mere days after firefighters in Southern California said that the Woolsey Fire, which started as the same time as the Camp Fire and killed three people, was 100 percent contained. The Woolsey Fire burned through more than 96,000 acres and destroyed 1,600 structures.
Support our independent journalism
Readers like you make our work possible. Help us continue to provide the reporting, commentary, and criticism you won’t find anywhere else.Join Slate Plus